On Monday night, Craig Panning was recognized at , but the longtime St. Louis Park employee is most known for spending his time at another city building—the .
Panning, who is currently the parks and recreation department's manager of buildings and structures, is retiring in May after 37 years with the city.
When Rec Center construction began in the early 1970s, Panning supervised the project. Over the next three plus decades, he spent countless hours in the building. Councilman Steve Hallfin, who was hired by Panning in 1985 as a warming house attendant, said of his former boss, "He's always at the Rec. Thanks for all your years of service."
City Council honored Panning with a plaque on Monday, as well as the following resolution:
WHEREAS, Craig Panning began his employment with the City of St. Louis Park over 37 years ago on February 10, 1975; and
WHEREAS, Craig has been an asset to the City of St. Louis Park for his commitment and dedication to the Parks and Recreation Department as a programmer, ice arena and pool manager, and was also instrumental in developing and implementing our parks master plan; and
WHEREAS, Craig has served on the board of the Ice Arena Manager’s Association; and
WHEREAS, Craig supervised the construction and addition of the Rec Center; and
WHEREAS, Craig is a 2005 Spirit of St. Louis Park Award winner; and
WHEREAS, Craig has purchased six Zambonis and scheduled approximately 160,000 hours of ice in his time with the City; and
WHEREAS, Craig looks forward to retirement when he will spend his days at the cabin fishing or at his duck shack hunting (not planting cottonwood trees);
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of the City of St. Louis Park, Minnesota, by this Resolution and public record, would like to thank Parks and Recreation Manager of Buildings and Structures Craig Panning for his great contributions and 37 years of dedicated service to the City of St. Louis Park and wish him the best in his retirement.
I'll hopefully be catching up with Panning soon for an interview. I'm sure he's got plenty of great stories from his years at the Rec.