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Nisswa: City hires park, recreation director; Hill formerly owned Aitkin Furniture, served as arboretum director

The Nisswa City Council on Wednesday, March 15, hired Matthew Hill as park and recreation director. He'll begin his new job April 3. Mark Sjoblad, park commission member, said several qualified people were interviewed. Hill succeeds Alex Hondl, w...

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The Nisswa City Council on Wednesday, March 15, hired Matthew Hill as park and recreation director. He'll begin his new job April 3.

The Nisswa City Council on Wednesday, March 15, hired Matthew Hill as park and recreation director. He'll begin his new job April 3.

Mark Sjoblad, park commission member, said several qualified people were interviewed.

Hill succeeds Alex Hondl, who held the position for a little more than two years before resigning in January for a parks and trails maintenance supervisor job in Baxter.

Hill, of Aitkin, previously owned Aitkin Furniture for 11 years and spent the last two years as director of the Northland Arboretum in Brainerd. He's active in hockey, and has children who play for Northern Lakes Lightning Youth Hockey Association. He's worked with nonprofit groups and has fundraising experience.

While Hill has no direct park and recreation experience, the interview committee was confident in his abilities, said council member Ross Krautkremer, park and recreation department liaison.

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Also March 15, the council accepted planning and zoning administrator Brent Jones' resignation, agreed to advertise for the position and hired the National Joint Powers Alliance for planning and zoning services in the interim for a maximum of 30 hours a week. NJPA charges $50 per hour worked.

Justin Burslie, one of three NJPA planning and zoning specialists, previously served as Nisswa's planning and zoning administrator for about three months before taking a job with the NJPA. The council then hired Jones, who accepted a planning job in Lakeville after working in Nisswa for nearly two years.

The council also needs to fill the city clerk position. The city has interim clerk Scott Saehr on board while the council decides how to fill that position.

Matthew Hill
Matthew Hill

Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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