DANVERS — With the retirement of longtime Endicott Park stewards Dave and Joan Townley last month, the town has created a new position — natural resources director — and promoted Waterfront Manager/Harbormaster Chris Sanborn to oversee both the 165-acre park and operations on the water.
Sanborn will be based at Town Hall and oversee staff patrolling the waters of Danvers Harbor and the park rangers tending to Endicott Park.
The park on Forest Street attracts 160,000 visitors a year to its nature trails, playground, sledding hills, community gardens, training field, children’s animal barn, visitors center and various summer programs.
Sanborn will report to Recreation Director David Mountain, who began to create a plan for Endicott Park more than eight months ago as the Townleys made plans to retire to Conway, N.H., on Jan. 1. The idea was to enhance the park and expand the roles of those working there, without adding staff or increasing the budget.
“Most importantly, how can we continue to build on the success story of the Townleys after all these years?” Town Manager Wayne Marquis said. “How do we take it to the next level?”
The Townleys had lived and worked at the park for more than 40 years. Dave Townley worked as an independent contractor, while his wife served as a park ranger for more than a decade. Living at the park really meant a seven-day-a-week, year-round commitment and lifestyle. David Townley was paid $52,500 as park director.
Sanborn does not plan to be a live-in caretaker. Marquis said there are sophisticated security systems in place, the park’s gates are locked in the evening, and there are regular police patrols. Sanborn will earn a salary of just under $67,500, about $10,000 more than he was making before the promotion.
The park will still have three full-time rangers, some of whom may take on expanded duties.