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Hall ready to hang up his sneakers

In 1977, “Star Wars” opened in theaters, the first Apple II computers hit store shelves, Elvis Presley died, the New York Yankees won the World Series, and Roger Hall was hired by the city of Boulder City.

Yes, you read that last one correctly.

Now, after nearly five decades with the city’s parks and recreation department, Hall has decided it’s time to retire and write the next chapter of his life.

“Marti Corderman (formerly in the public works department) has 48 years in with the city and everyone has been on me to break Marti’s record,” he said. “She put so much into this town that I said no, ‘She’s going to be queen and I’m good with being second.’”

Hall recently turned 70 and he said that milestone played a factor in his decision to retire, which will take place Jan. 3.

“In looking around at some of my friends from high school, they’re not doing so well – a lot of health issues and stuff like that,” he said. “I’m pretty healthy but I decided I wanted to enjoy the latter part of my life. I have eight grandkids, who I want to spend more time with. I’ve always been athletic so I’ll be taking up pickleball. I’ll continue to ride my bike and we’re planning on traveling. I want to be able to do all of that while I still can. I’m having a hard time with turning 70. Turning 60 was OK, but turning 70 has been rough. So, it’s time.”

Hall also has four children, including twins who were the first test tube babies born in Southern Nevada, which made national news back then.

His decision to retire was made a couple of months ago but the thought had crossed his mind over the years.

“I knew I couldn’t work forever,” Hall said. “I wanted to make sure everything was in order. We have a great parks and rec department staff. Everyone is crossed-trained so if I get hit by a bus crossing the street, the department wouldn’t skip a beat because everyone knows what they’re doing.

“The stars aligned. We have a great city council, a great city manager, a great parks commission and I have a great staff. So, it’s time to hang up my sneakers.”

He said the realization that he’ll soon be retiring started to hit when he began telling fellow staff members of his plan but also all the last lasts, so to speak. His last city council meeting, last parks and rec commission meeting, or putting up the bubble structure at the pool for the final time of his tenure.

“That’s when it really started to sink in,” he said.

Hall came to Boulder City in 1977 after being hired as a part-time sports coordinator for the city. At the time, a lot of the community sports in town were overseen by the Boulder Recreation Association Volunteer Organization or better known as BRAVO. They were volunteers running city-sponsored sports and activities who formed prior to 1970, which is when the city began the parks and recreation department. In total, Hall is just the third parks and rec director, having been promoted to that position in 1984.

“Back then I remember us flying by the seat of our pants because we didn’t have much of a staff or money so we all had to wear a lot of hats,” he said. “That’s why it was so important to get the community involved in finding money to sponsor teams, which still occurs today, and by doing so lessens the money from the general fund.”

In looking back over his tenure, Hall said he was proud of the fact the city was able to build a community pool, which started under his predecessor, Chuck Reynolds. Hall was the first pool manager and also served as lifeguard on occasion. He did say he wishes a new facility could have been completed under his watch.

Completing the back nine holes on the municipal golf course in 1984 is another notch in Hall’s proverbial cap. But it wasn’t easy. In order to support such an endeavor, homes had to be built around that portion of the course to help create a revenue stream. The nine holes were built and Lewis Homes did their part and the rest is Boulder City history.

But possibly the proudest notch in that cap was seeing the creation of Veterans Memorial Park, which started in 1994 and saw completion six years later. The 85-acre park saw a big chunk of its funding over the years secured through a county grant program, with the assistance of then-County Commissioner Bruce Woodbury, who worked to get that funding.

“Just getting that built was a big undertaking,” Hall said. “That’s our flagship park. We have some major events that take place there. It’s been a great park and people really enjoy what we have down there. A lot of the credit goes to our public works department. We’ve worked with them hand-in-hand for years. We may have thought of the ideas but getting it implemented and into the ground, that’s all public works. I tip my hat to them.”

Over the last 46 years, thousands of boys and girls have taken part in sports and programs offered by parks and recreation, with the vast majority having had memorable experiences.

“I’m seeing the third and fourth generations now,” he said. “Many, when they graduate from high school, think the grass is greener on the other side. But they look at that grass and they end up coming back to Boulder City with their families to raise their kids the way they were raised, which includes playing in our sports programs.

“I’m seeing the kids of kids of kids who have come up through our programs. I’m really going to miss the smiles on the faces of the kids when they hit their first ball or slap their first puck into the net. There’s something about that first moment, which is dear to me.”

Ron Eland is editor of the Boulder City Review. He can be reached at reland@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523.

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