Tribune-Courier News Editor
AURORA — Kenlake State Resort Park will be under new management come April 15.
Current park manager John Rittenhouse tendered his resignation as of that date. Rittenhouse served as Kenlake’s manager for five years and spent another four years as manager of Lake Barkley State Resort Park. Prior to that, he spent a year as city manager in Cadiz and also served as superintendent of the water and sewer department of the city of Florence.
“Well, my daughter is grown and in pharmacy school, so I thought it might be a good time to test the waters of the private sector,” Rittenhouse said.
Rittenhouse said he has accepted the position of manager of Jolly’s Dairy Bar and Grill, located at the marina of Lake Barkley State Resort Park.
“The unknown is a little unsettling, but it is exciting at the same time,” Rittenhouse said. “Most of the work will be outdoors and I love to work near the water. I know most of the boaters in the area, so it will be a bit like a homecoming for me. I’m excited about being my own boss and to have an opportunity to bring the restaurant to the next level.”
Rittenhouse has been living on the campus of Kenlake State Resort Park, but anticipates a move to Trigg County.
Having spent most of his working life in the public sector, Rittenhouse said he will miss service to the community.
“I miss the idea of doing a job that will make people happy,” Rittenhouse said. “Public service is one of the few industries that provides immediate satisfaction. I worked to please people and put an immediate smile onto people’s faces. The opportunity to serve was really motivating.”
Gil Lawson, spokesman for the Kentucky State Parks System, said his office only learned of Rittenhouse’s resignation this week. A successor at Kenlake has not been designated.
“I don’t know the plan to fill that specific position,” Lawson said of hiring within the system or looking outside for a replacement. “We will be looking for a qualified candidate from a variety of backgrounds.”
Lawson said it could be several months to complete the interview process and hire a new manager. Many parks see an interim manager designated until a new, full-time manager is hired. He added the position is a part of Kentucky’s merit system of employment.
Judge-Executive Mike Miller called Rittenhouse an asset to the community, and said he would be missed as park manager.