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Recreation director: a Falcon faithful

Eddie Avedikian has lived in Falcon almost 17 years and has seen plenty of changes. His home was one of the first built in Woodmen Hills; he has watched the development grow from a few homes to the current number of about 2,450 homes.ìThere were no houses on this side (east side of Meridian,) and there was no Safeway,î Avedikian said. ìThere was really nothing .The antelope used to run around where we are now (recreation center east).îThe open space of the Colorado prairie is a big change from Avedikianís roots.Born in Newark, N.J., he spent much of his childhood on the Jersey shore, with baseball as a huge pastime. ìAll the kids on my block, except for one, were Mets fans,î he said. ìWe were just little and playing and always watching the Mets.î Avedikian attended Menlo Park Elementary in Edison, N.J. At age 9, he and his family moved from New Jersey to Fresno, Calif. ìThere were a lot of Armenians there, and my dad knew somebody,î he said. After a short time in Fresno, the family moved to Palm Springs, Calif. After settling in California, Avedikian began playing tennis. ìI was a big tennis player,î he said. ìI did varsity tennis all three years.î After graduating from Palm Springs High School in 1982, Avedikian worked as a bell captain at the Double Tree Hotel and played tennis at College of the Desert in Palm Desert, Calif. ìI didnít know what I wanted to do,î he said.In 1996, the hotel corporation transferred Avedikian to the Antlers Hilton Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo. Shortly thereafter, he bought a 1-acre lot in Woodmen Hills. The open spaces and country lifestyle of the Falcon area appealed to him. ìI liked this area because it was out of Colorado Springs,î he said. ìI was kind of nervous buying, but I just had a good feeling.îAfter his house was completed in January 1997, Avedikian moved in and began working out at the Woodmen Hills Recreation Center on a regular basis. At that time, there was only one recreation center with a small weight room, he said.Avedikian and a few buddies from the recreation center decided to organize a softball team. They asked Rusty Green, Woodmen Hills developer, if he would sponsor the team. Green agreed, and Avedikian played and coached for several years, he said.In 1999, Avedikianís professional and personal life changed. His parents sold their home in California and moved in with Avedikian. That same year, the Antlerís Hilton Hotel was sold to Adamís Mark, and Avedikian decided to take a similar job in guest services at the Double Tree Hilton Hotel near the World Arena in Colorado Springs, where he stayed for three years. In 2003, he landed a job closer to home ñ at the Woodmen Hills Recreation Center. ìI heard that the position was opening up here,î he said. ìAfter several people recommended me, Rusty Green and Tim Hunker (district manager) hired me as the programs and activities director.î While keeping the programs already in place, Avedikian started implementing new ones. Eventually, a poll of Woodmen Hills residents indicated the community wanted an indoor pool, which meant a second recreation center would need to be built. The second recreation center not only housed a pool and more activities and programs, but also more job responsibilities for Avedikian.Today, he supervises an assistant director, aquatics director, front office and facilities manager and a programs and activities director. Avedikian also oversees the developmentís parks, trails, open spaces, landscaping and drainage maintenance and operations.ìCommunicating what residents want one-on-one is my job,î he said, adding that it was easier to do so when he had more time to interact with the residents. However, Avedikian said he and his staff are always focused on meeting the needs of the residents.Since 2006, the district has received grants from the Colorado State Lottery, which matched funds from El Paso County, to build several of the area parks. Avedikian said Woodmen Hills has a master design; and, as more funds become available, there are plans on the table to build a dog park, tennis courts, an indoor gym, a skateboard park and football fields. Avedikian said the favorite part of his job is working with and listening to people. He also said he has a ìgreatî staff. ìI love working with my staff,î he said. ìThey come up with new stuff all the time; I want to stay up with the trends.î When he is not busy with his job, Avedikian enjoys traveling and horse racing. The latter reminds him of his dad, Robert, who passed away in May 2012. ìMe and my dad, back in California, would love to go to Santa Anita and Del Mar racetrackî he said. ìThatís what we did together.îHis mom, Nelly, died nine months after his father. Avedikian said he misses her cooking. ìShe would call me five times a day, asking what I would want to eat,î he said. ìNow I donít have that.î He misses both of his parents, who were married 54 years. Avedikian recalled his parentís courtship. ìHe met her in Argentina through their parents,î he said. ìHe flew down there and married her after a week.îGrowing up near the ocean, Avedikian also enjoys deep sea fishing and traveling to Key West, Fla., where he has caught grouper, barracuda and snappers. ìWhen I retire, I would like to try and catch every species I could,î he said.Meanwhile, heís taking each day as it comes. ìPastor Pat (Jeffrey) always tells me ëone day at a time,íî Avedikian said. Avedikian attends Grace Community Church in Falcon. He said heís open to ìwherever God sends me.îFor now, Avedikian is staying put. He said itís hard to picture living anywhere else. Falcon: ìItís home.î

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