by Dan Holland
The Richfield Joint Recreation District welcomed two new board members in 2022. Newcomers Mike Selig and David Wehner were both appointed to RJRD by Richfield Village.
Selig is filling the unexpired term of Cynthia Lombardo, who resigned from the board last fall. His term expires Dec. 31, 2022.
Wehner will serve a three-year term left vacant by former board member Art Gonzales, who decided not to seek another term.
Selig, who is head of veterinary programs with the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, said he decided to become more involved with RJRD when he approached the board last year to seek equestrian access into Richfield Heritage Preserve.
“After interacting with the board about getting access for my daughter’s horse, it made me realize that I wanted to be more involved with the park that’s right across the street from where I live,” he said. “This is an opportunity to give back to the community and become more involved in the park.”
Selig said as the newly appointed chair of the fundraising and grant writing committee, he hopes to procure additional revenue sources for the park. Funding for the aging infrastructure of RHP could be a main area of focus, he said.
“It’s no longer an estate or a Girl Scout camp; it’s transitioned into a public park,” he said. “We have some tough choices to make as far as what the best use is for this infrastructure, and how we will maintain it and preserve it going forward if we decide to do that.”
“I’ve had some limited experience doing grants with the role that I’m in, so I’m hoping to parlay that into being successful with helping to write grants for the park,” he continued. “In being a resident of the Richfield community for close to 20 years now, I think that I bring that to the board as well. I really love this community, and I love that as a community we decided to preserve this park.”
As a licensed CPA, Wehner hopes to apply his business acumen to help further the mission of the RJRD.
“With my finance background, I tend to bring that type of hue to those meetings and to the way that we approach problems, opportunities and other issues in the park,” he said. “I spent about 8-9 years in public accounting during which, I got to see firsthand the operational issues facing entities like RJRD.”
Wehner, who has been a Richfield resident since 1983, said it is important to carefully consider all options and viewpoints before moving forward with policies affecting the park.
“There are many different groups with ideas of what they would like to see going forward,” he said. “We’re trying to be good stewards of assets as far as maintaining the park, but we also have a responsibility toward the taxpayers who are paying to use those funds in an appropriate manner. I think that balancing all of those needs may be the most challenging part in moving forward.”
Wehner said he would like to see the park eventually become self-funded.
“From a revenue standpoint, I’d like to see the park explore funding its own operations and to get more widespread use of the park and the community,” he said.
“On a personal note, I think we have a good, strong group of board members,” Wehner continued. “We all share a common passion in taking the RJRD to the next level and being a good steward of assets. I think that’s going to be a nice benefit to the community, and hopefully the community understands how much this park means to all of us.” ∞