Over the next several months, we will be featuring the members of our Waterfront Park maintenance crew. Our small but mighty team is the best in the business, working seven days a week to keep the park clean, the lights on the Big Four Bridge shining, and the park landscape healthy and thriving.
Richard Marion Senior Corporate Maintenance Supervisor 24 Years with Waterfront Park
Richard Marion is a military veteran and is the most senior member of Waterfront Park’s landscape maintenance staff. Richard is a Wisconsin native from a rural farming community which has helped shape his quiet stoic work ethic. Richard’s knowledge and expertise are treasured assets for Waterfront Park, and he is a well-respected mentor to the entire landscape maintenance staff. He knows how to restore and re-purpose virtually anything and nothing ever goes to waste in Richard’s presence. One of Richard’s hallmarks is his ability to tell countless G rated jokes which will light up a room with laughter. He loves animals and he carries biscuits in his pockets for all the four legged Waterfront Park patrons. Richard is a proud grandfather and husband to Debbie and father of four adult children.
Get to know Richard better in the Q&A segment below:
Q: What is your role and how long have you been in it?
A: I have been with Waterfront for 24 years. I was the first landscaper hired to care for Waterfront Park. In that time I’ve gone from a supervisor to a teacher for the younger men. My initiation was the 97 flood. The first day I was on the job I was piling sand bags and cleaning up flood debris. The silt was 12 inches thick in an area and it had to be shoveled out by hand. I worked with one other landscaper Ed O’Brien for a full week to clean up that area alone. It made me wonder if I made the right decision for my career in fact! HA!
(The 1997 flood is the worst flood on record since the historic 1937 flood. The Ohio River rose 23’ above the McAlpine Locks and Dam and at least 3 fatalities were recorded in the Kentuckiana Area).
Q: What is your favorite feature of the park?
A: The Swing Garden is the area that I find most appealing. People seem to enjoy sitting, relaxing and people watching. You can sit on the swings and watch everyone having fun on the Big Four Lawn or watch the barges going up and down the river.
Q: What is your favorite event in the park?
A: My favorite event was an event at the Brown-Forman Amphitheater — the Corn Island Storytelling Festival. It was a number of years ago and they told ghost stories at night. I also really like the Pagan Pride Event. It brings a lot of interesting people to the park and there is something fun about it.
Q: What is your favorite way to spend a day in the park with your family and friends?
A: I enjoy walking along the edge of the river and watching the ducks and fowl out in the river and listening the water splash along the bank. It is nice and relaxing.
Q: What do you love most about your job?
A: Being able to come to work and watch people play with their dogs and enjoy themselves. I love watching park visitors appreciate what we are maintaining. I love arriving to work early in the morning and catching the sprinklers shutting down and seeing the early summer sunshine glisten on the grass– it’s just like the opening scene of Caddyshack as the sun is rising. I can almost hear Kenny Loggins singing.
Q: In your time with Waterfront Park, how have you seen the park grow?
A: When I started at Waterfront, the park wasn’t open. I’ve seen it transition from a pile of dirt to the green space it is today. I remember taking a photo of the park during the first winter and the trees were just sticks. Now the Spruce Trees are so thick you cannot see through them. When I first started here, there were not any leaves to speak of and now it takes us about a month and a half to care for the dropping leaves in the fall.
Q: What is one thing you want people to know about Waterfront Park?
A: I would like to share how popular the park is. We have people coming from other countries to visit Waterfront Park and it’s a popular destination.