CLAREMONT — Sometimes the most unappreciated things are right under your nose as is the case with the incredible parks around the city of Claremont. Although it is a team effort within everyone in the department, Bob Melcher is most recognizable face that everyone sees at the games.
The Claremont parks department is responsible for maintaining over 630 acres with two full-time workers and a couple of part-time people which requires a ton of proactive maintenance not just hopping on a mower and cutting, according to Claremont Parks and Recreation Director Mark Brislin,
“We really have a great turf management system in place and some top notch people to keep things looking the way they do,” Brislin said.
There is cooperation between the city and school system as the school district pays a share of the cost to maintain the fields and lighting for school events and they are looking into how keep that partnership growing, according to Brislin.
There are 10 outdoor parks around the city, which include Moody Park, Broad Street Park, Arrowhead Recreation Area, LaCasse Park, Factory Street Park, the Visitors Center Green, Sarah B.H. Smith Riverside Park, as well as the brightest jewels which are the fields at Monadnock, Barnes, and Veterans Parks where the Cardinals compete and where you will find Melcher on many days and nights.
“Bob is just an incredible worker and takes so much pride in his job,” Brislin said. “During the months of January and February Bob is ready to get back on the fields.”
A Stevens graduate, Melcher became a full time employee for the parks department four years ago after working part time for a few years.
“I love my job but the praise should go to everyone that works so hard, it’s a great team effort,” said the humble Melcher.
“Bob Melcher is an absolute gem!” said Stevens Athletic Director Doug Beaupre. “I’ve only met a handful of people who take so much pride in the work that he does. I can’t tell you how many visiting coaches look around Monadnock Park and Barnes Park and just stare in awe as to how beautiful our fields are and Bob has an important role in doing that! The Stevens Athletic Department is lucky to have him.”
On a typical Friday with everyone out and about trying to keep ahead of the rain, Melcher was headed to the visitors center in the morning to get things ready for a Red River event then headed to Barnes Park.
“We’re all just trying to keep ahead of the maintenance, it’s not all about me, there are some really great guys in this department that give 100% to make things look the way they do,” Melcher said.
“Bob is the best! He does an amazing job!” said longtime Stevens field hockey coach Patty Deschaine. “I recall talking with him one day (in the past, one of many conversations over the years) regarding the fields and how great they were looking but in his eyes not good enough. That’s Bob Melcher — takes pride in all the fields. His fields!”