If you want to understand Goodyear Parks and Recreation Director Nathan Torres’ dedication to the community service, take a walk through the brand-new Goodyear Recreation Campus.
The campus, which includes a 48,000-square-foot indoor recreation facility, a state-of-the-art aquatics facility and a 30-acre park, is a testament to Torres’ desire and ability to give residents exactly what they want.
“What I’m most proud of is the community engagement that got us to this point,” said Torres, who received the 2021 Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Award in the Community Builder category.
“We did countless hours of outreach and community interaction and engagement to bring this project to fruition. It’s truly designed by the community and for the community, and we’ve experienced tremendous success," Torres said in a release announcing the honor.
Torres received the Gabe Zimmerman award for his hard work in driving public engagement in the design of the rec campus, as well as his efforts to keep Goodyear residents connected throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The award was named in honor of Gabe Zimmerman, the community outreach director for former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. The 30-year-old was among six people killed when a gunman opened fire at a Giffords event in Tucson on Jan. 8, 2011.
“It’s a tremendous honor, not only for myself but our entire team and our community, to be recognized in the legacy of Gabe Zimmerman, someone who was dedicated to serving his community,” Torres said.
Torres joined the city of Goodyear team as its first Ballpark Manager in 2007 and was promoted to his current role in 2012.
His career in parks and recreation spans more than three decades. Today, he oversees Goodyear’s 17 parks, as well as its recreation programs, library services, public art and special events. He’s currently overseeing the construction of the Civic Square Park, which will be part of the new city hall complex scheduled for completion in summer 2022.
Whenever someone asks Torres exactly what he does for a living, he provides a simple answer.
“We want to enhance the quality of life for Goodyear residents,” he said. “We want to provide respite and getaways after a long day at work or a long day at school. We want people to have the opportunity to visit our parks by themselves or with their family. And there’s something for everyone.”
Whether it’s teaching a child how to swim, providing a place for friends to play cards and games, or allowing a family to have a picnic in the park, Torres said Goodyear Parks and Recreation is all about community. After all, having a positive impact on a single resident can cause a ripple effect throughout the entire city.
“That really is our ultimate goal for community building, and that’s the key to success,” Torres said. “Parks and recreation plays a tremendous role and is the cornerstone to any community... It’s our responsibility to deliver the very best programs, services and facilities for our residents so they can create lifelong memories and we can leave behind projects, facilities and programs that serve generations to come.”