Colello hired as new Bridgton recreation director

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

Bridgton has a new recreation director. He is Gary Colello, of Laconia, N.H., chosen from a field of 36 applicants to replace Tom Tash, who resigned July 1.

Colello, who holds a master’s of education degree and has a strong background in programming, sports and fitness, plans to move to Bridgton and will begin work in mid-August. He will come to Bridgton on July 23 and 24 so he can work with Sebago Recreation Director Corinne Davis, who has been helping to keep Bridgton’s programming afloat since Tash’s departure.

Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz said Colello was the top choice of a search committee comprised of himself, Administrative Assistant Georgiann Fleck, Selectman Paul Hoyt, Bridgton Community Center Executive Director Carmen Lone and Bridgton Hospital employee Katherine Ross. Most of the candidates came from Maine and other New England states, he said, and there were also several people from the immediate area who applied.

Hoyt said the committee was able to thoroughly vet all of the candidates before making its choice.

“It was interesting, because we all came with different points of view, and we were all in agreement with the top five, the top two and then the top one,” Hoyt said at Tuesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting. Of Colello, Hoyt said, “He’s going to bring a lot to the table for the town.”

Berkowitz said Colello’s master’s of education degree was earned with a concentration on athletic administration. He said Colello’s work in education has been in the areas of sports fitness and conditioning, and that he provided three summers of sports coordination at the Oxford Hills SAD 17 School District.

Colello worked as a youth development coordinator for two years, a summer camp director for the Laconia Athletic and Swim Club, coached indoor and outdoor track and field, and was part of the Camp Hale program development in Sandwich, N.H.

During an earlier phone interview, Berkowitz said he gave Davis “all the credit” for keeping recreational programming in Bridgton running smoothly during one of its busiest times of the year, with softball, baseball and swimming programs in full swing. Tash, as well, had most of the elements pulled together before he left to become Marketing Manager for Schooner Estates, Berkowitz added.

“Everything is being held together with duct tape and good common sense,” he said, adding that the town was able to hire around five students from Lake Region High School to oversee the swim program.

As recreation director, Colello will take over management supervision of the Salmon Point Campground from Berkowitz. Town employee Ted Sawyer, who also works part-time for public works, is the day-to-day campground manager and will continue in that capacity, but Colello will be working with Berkowitz and selectmen on its long-range plans for campground improvements.

 

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