Although he will officially take over as administrator of the Hesperia Recreation and Park District next week, the district's second in command assumed the role of top dog during a public speaking event Monday afternoon.


"We're reaching out and touching the lives of our residents," Woods said as the featured speaker at the Hesperia Chamber of Commerce's monthly luncheon meeting at Courtyard Marriott.


With the help of a slide show presentation, Woods gave a nuts-and-bolts description of the park district, which is one of 3,300 special districts in California.


"It's amazing the different kind of special districts out there," said Woods, the district's administrative operations manager who will take over from manager Cal Camara on July 1.


The district serves 100 squares miles, which includes Hesperia and portions of Oak Hills and Summit Valley. There are 11 parks, 380 acres of parkland and 100 acres of open space. It employs 195 people, but it's the veritable army of volunteers that make a huge impact on those who use the district's services.


"The district has hundreds of volunteers, and they make an impact," he said.


Woods talked about notable improvements at Lime Street Park. Topping his list were a BMX bicycle course, which is expected to be built within a year, and the long-awaited "skate plaza" that may take up to two years for construction, he said.


A "sprayground" will be put in behind the park's pool and feature water sprayed for youngsters to play in and walk through.


"It's a way to beat the summer heat," he said.


Woods also discussed the rationale for closing the Hesperia Equestrian Center at Lime Street Park and moving it next to Hesperia Lake Park. Most notably, the area next to the park is zoned high density. Conversely, the area near the Mojave River has more wide-opened spaces, and many equestrians already live in the area.


"Cal's been talking about that for 20 years," Woods said. "It's a much better venue for them."


The district also he awaiting the result of a state grant application to create a larger, more inviting entrance to Lime Street Park. He also talked about future development at Mojave Park and Hesperia Community Park.


Like his predecessor, Woods peppered his speech with humor, which appeared to put chamber members at ease.


"I was asked to come here today to talk for an hour and a half," Woods said with a smile. When the audience greeted that comment with good-natured boos, Woods dead-panned, "What?"


His boss also was the butt of several good-natured jokes, but Woods also gave Camara several compliments.


"Cal's a great guy, and he's done a tremendous amount in the community. We're glad he's been at it as long as he has. Cal has done his best to make sure this transition is as smooth as it can be."


Woods urged chamber members to talk about the recreational activities at the park district.


"Tell everyone you know to visit the park district web site. There are a lot of great things happening in our community."