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Mike Mains returns as Elizabethton Parks director

John Thompson • Updated Jun 21, 2017 at 5:31 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Mike Mains has returned to Elizabethton as director of the Parks and Recreation Department. He stepped down from the post at the beginning of the month to take the job of assistant director of the Johnson City Parks and Recreation Department.

"I found that my heart is in Elizabethton and the important projects that our department continues to develop are an important part of my life."

Mains stressed that he found the staff of the Johnson City Parks and Recreation Department are highly professional and he enjoyed working there, he said it was just that "I feel Elizabethton is home."

Mains said, "I appreciate the opportunity to work with the Johnson City Parks and Recreation. (Director) James Ellis and his great staff were a pleasure to work wtih and the facilities and parks there are incredible. They are a very talented group that serves their community well."

He was back in his Elizabethton office on Wednesday, once again directing the Parks and Recreation Department and meeting with his old staff. He said he did not know if he will step back into his other role as general manager of the Elizabethton Twins. He said he has not discussed that with City Manager Jerome Kitchens.

At the time he spoke with the Johnson City Press, Mains said he had not yet met with the Elizabethton Twins. The Appalachian League team had just arrived in town by bus. Mains said he was scheduled to meet with them at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Both Kitchens and Mayor Curt Alexander were out of town on Wednesday and unavailable for comment on whether Mains will be back as general manager.

One local baseball leader said Mains’ return will help the city's effort to keep Minor League baseball in the city.

Richard Barker, spokesman and member of the Elizabethton Twins Task Force said, "I am happy to see Mike return. He has great contacts in Minor League Baseball and is very respected in the Appalachian League."

The city and the Minnesota Twins have been in discussions on the future of the rookie level team that has represented Elizabethton in the Appalachian League since 1974 and has won the league championship 10 times during that period. The Minnesota Twins and the city have no contract to continue the relationship after this year.

There have been some recent discussions between the American League team and the city, but Barker said that if the worst case scenario happens and the Minnesota chooses not to return to Elizabethton's Joe O'Brien Field in 2018, Mains will be even more valuable to the city because of his extensive connections in Minor League Baseball.

But on his first day back at his old job as parks director, Mains was just concentrating on getting up to speed with what took place while he was gone.

Mains said earlier this year that there has never been such an extensive number of volunteer groups working to help the Parks and Recreation Department, with groups like the Carter County Parks and Recreation Committee, the IDEAS group's interest in improving the Covered Bridge Park and several others.

In closing the statement Mains gave to the Press, he said "I was given the opportunity to come back and resume my role in Elizabethton as director and working closely with developing and facilitating projects alongside Elizabethton's staff is truly a rewarding experience.”

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