Seymour’s new parks and recreation director has a strong desire to help improve quality of life for residents and to attract more visitors to the city.

By working with other local officials and getting the public involved, Bob Tabeling said he believes much progress can be made on long-term projects such as the trails system while maintaining and expanding current parks facilities.

Tabeling, originally from Louisville, and his wife, Barb, moved to Seymour in 1988, and have raised five children here, all of whom have been actively involved in the community.

The family has a long history of playing and coaching sports with Tabeling most recently serving as a baseball coach at Trinity Lutheran High School. The family also own and operate Celebrations event hall in Seymour.

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Although they have relatives in the Louisville and Indianapolis areas, Tabeling, 54, said he has no intentions of leaving Seymour and decided he wanted to do more.

Tabeling recently spoke with Tribune reporter January Rutherford about his new post.

What is your background and what skills do you believe you bring to running the department?

My sports background includes involvement in coaching at a variety of levels in various sports, including baseball, basketball and soccer. The involvement in scheduling events as a volunteer athletic director for St. Ambrose and the business background in dealing with budgets. Senior level leadership which deals with setting budgets, controlling expenses while maintaining the facilities. I have also sat in on numerous boards throughout my career.

Why do you feel the position of parks director is an important one in Seymour?

The mayor describes our parks to me as a major aspect to the quality of life. I agree 100 percent. It is about what families do together when they are not working. Or how to increase the health and wellness of a community. The parks serve as an avenue for these processes to occur and the parks director has the responsibility to move the programs forward that are important to the community.

Do you have any ideas for new programs to bring to the city?

We will continue to develop the programs the community wants to support. The new kickball league has grown over the past two seasons and appears to be supported by the community. The youth programs and especially the tournament format are very strong throughout the state. Being centrally located we have to continue to see how we can bring additional revenue into the community through the tournament process. Whether that be through adult or youth programs.

How do you plan to attract more athletic tournaments to the city?

We have scheduled 13 tournaments this year. This has brought in millions of dollars of revenue to the community. Three of these tournaments are ran by Jason Kleber, our athletic director and the parks department personnel which brings in revenue for our department. The remaining tournaments are groups that rent our facilities for fundraising for their individual associations. We want these tournaments to be a success for all involved so they return for future tournaments. So increasing the number of tournaments may not be an immediate goal but increasing the number of teams that attend these tournaments could have a much larger financial impact on our community.

January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at or 812-523-7069.