(MANHATTAN, Kan. – April 17, 2023) — Manhattan City Manager Ron Fehr announced today that Wyatt Thompson, who has served as the City’s interim Parks and Recreation Director for the past year, will join the City Manager’s Office as an assistant city manager, handling project management and supervision of the division leaders in building services and at the animal shelter.
Today also is the first day on the job for Aaron Stewart, who was hired in March to replace former Manhattan Parks and Recreation Department (MPRD) director Eddie Eastes, who retired in May 2022.
“Wyatt has done a great job in his interim MPRD role, and we are excited to bring his skillsets and experience into an organizational role to assist in project management and other citywide efforts,” Fehr said. “We look forward to working with him in this new position, which upgrades a vacancy in our office.”
Thompson is a licensed landscape architect and Certified Park and Recreation Professional. He graduated from Kansas State University in 2005 with degrees in landscape architecture and environmental science.
Thompson began working for the City in the Parks and Recreation Department in 2012, holding several roles that included park planner, senior park planner and assistant director, before being named interim director in May 2022.
He served as the lead project manager for the new recreation centers, overseeing all phases of the process from initial feasibility studies in 2014 through construction and opening of facilities in 2021. Prior to joining the City, he worked eight years in the private sector at engineering firms Schwab-Eaton and HNTB on planning and design projects in Kansas and Missouri, including parks, sports complexes, trails, streetscapes, and other development projects.
“I am grateful for my time with the Parks and Recreation team over the last 10 years, and I am confident that new leadership will continue to bring positive change,” Thompson said. “I am excited to transition to the City Manager’s team and continue my commitment to public service. Manhattan is my home of more than 20 years and I look forward to ongoing work to improve our community.”
Under the direction of the Deputy City Manager, Thompson initially will be responsible for the management of major projects on the horizon, including the last remaining project of the 2017 Quality of Life Sales Tax effort, which will renovate the CiCo Park ballfields complex and tennis courts. In addition, he will bring with him the Building Maintenance Division and the Animal Shelter Division as part of his direct oversight within the City Manager’s Office (these divisions previously were housed within the Parks and Recreation Department).
Thompson’s wife, Kathryn, is a licensed clinical marriage and family therapist who specializes in the treatment of trauma. They have a son, Emmett.