Wheeler new manager at Butler Park

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By Phyllis McLaughlin

After a couple false starts, a new permanent manager has been hired to operate General Butler State Resort Park.

Carrollton native Misty Wheeler, who last August was named coordinator of Champions for a Drug Free Carroll County, was hired for the top position at the park last month.

In February, the Kentucky Department of Parks had announced that Charlie Brooks would take on the position, which had been filled by interim manager Larry Totten since May 2012. But days after that announcement, Brooks decided, instead, to remain at his job at Nature Inn at Bald Eagle State Park in Pennsylvania.

Wheeler said yesterday that the park manager job appealed to her because of the stability it offers. Previous to working for Champions, she had served 10 years as director of the Lighthouse afterschool program for fourth- through eighth-graders at Carroll County Middle School.

She said she loved both jobs and especially loved working with children, but explained that both of those programs are funded by grants. If, for whatever reason, the grant funding were to dry up, those jobs would disappear, too.

“I love what [Champions] does for this community, but this was awonderful opportunity,” Wheeler said. “I’m hoping I can still work with the schools and with kids who visit the park.”

The first month has been busy, as Wheeler has attended training sessions in Frankfort and at state parks all over Kentucky. At this point, she said she doesn’t have any specific projects in mind, but her goal is “to make the park a success. We want to make it a place where families can come and make it a park Carrollton can be proud of.

“I’ve always loved the park. I worked here when I was in high school and college. I played here when I was little, and I brought Daniel here when he was little.”

Her son, Daniel Wheeler, also a Carroll County High School graduate, is a sophomore at University of Kentucky.

“I worked in all the different departments, but I never thought I’d be park manager,” she admitted.

In the meantime, Wheeler encourages everyone to let her know what suggestions they might have for improving the park. “I want feedback. This is our park, and I want everyone to be proud of it.”

Hayley Franklin, who had served as Wheeler’s assistant coordinator with Champions, was hired recently as coordinator of that program. 

A story on Franklin will appear in next week’s edition of The News-Democrat.