TOPEKA -- County Commissioner Ted Ensley issued this news release in announcing Friday that he won't be running for a possible 5th term on the commission this year.
"I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for Shawnee County Commission. It was a very difficult decision. I have had many friends and commission district patrons encouraging me to run again and give it another 4 years. It is time to focus on the next stage of my life.
My time on the council started 16 years ago. I benefited from an excellent staff, superior department heads, and capable employees. I have very much enjoyed my work to help make Shawnee County government a model of good government and public service for the taxpayers and their families.
I am proud of my work with Lake Shawnee as Director of Shawnee County Parks and Recreation for 31 years. That was my first job right out of Kansas State University. I am grateful to former County Commissioner Dick Hanger for hiring me. Dick gave me a motivation to improve the quality of life for Shawnee County citizens by improving Lake Shawnee and expanded parks and recreations projects.
Lake Shawnee was my home and I am truly grateful and honored to have our former back-yard named Ted Ensley Gardens.
Lake Shawnee has become the crown jewel for Shawnee County in the treasure chest of Shawnee County Parks and Recreation. Shawnee County Parks and Recreation Foundation, that includes the Friends of Ted Ensley Gardens, was established to insure the continuation of a very special public private partnership with an army of community volunteers.
The partnership started when George Bettis and other volunteers approached me when I was Director of Parks & Recreation. They wanted to build baseball diamonds at Lake Shawnee and start the SCABA baseball program. A deal was made that teamed County taxpayers with private funds and volunteers to build a legacy of competitive youth baseball in Topeka.
Then as County Commissioner, I worked with John Knight, current director of parks and recreation to improve the SCABA facilities to become a premier destination for regional and national youth baseball tournaments at the newly constructed Bettis Family Sports Complex. The contributions of three generations of George Bettis family and the generosity of Terry Bettis and family to the SCPR Foundation will insure that future generations will benefit from the investments both public and private.
With my 16 years on the commission, much was accomplished working with like minded commissioners who had the courage to vote to improve the quality of services and the quality of life for Shawnee County citizens. I thank them all for the pleasure of working with them.
My life’s legacy started with Lake Shawnee and Shawnee County Parks and Recreation. John Knight has his hands full with the consolidation of parks and recreation but he is a very capable Director. I can leave knowing parks and recreation is in his hands to continue improving on Topeka’s greatest assets, Lake Shawnee and Shawnee County parks and Recreation.
It has been my pleasure to be of service for 47 years of my life to the citizens of Shawnee County. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve. See you in the gardens!"