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Yarmouth pavilion to be named for retiring community services leader

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Yarmouth pavilion to be named for retiring community services leader

YARMOUTH — The year was 1986.

Ronald Reagan was president, "Top Gun" was the No. 1 movie in the country and Marcia Noyes began her job as director of Yarmouth Community Services.

Twenty-seven years later, at age 59, the spirited leader is retiring on Aug. 16.

In the meantime, however, Noyes' waning days on the job have been marked by several noteworthy occasions. In June, Town Council Chairman Steve Woods acknowledged Noyes' service at the start of Yarmouth's annual Town Meeting by presenting her with a rocking chair. (Woods said he chose a rocking chair because Noyes can't sit still.)

On Aug. 2, Noyes' career was celebrated at an open house-style retirement party at Town Hall.

And soon, on Aug. 13, the Town Council will approve a resolution to name the outdoor stage at Royal River Park the Marcia Noyes Pavilion.

The pavilion is home to the annual Yarmouth Summer Arts Series, where bands play free concerts every Wednesday evening throughout the summer. Of all her achievements at the Community Center, the performance space at Royal River Park takes the crown, she said.

In the early 1990s, the town started a fundraising campaign to build a permanent structure in Royal River Park to serve as the home for the concert series. It was a decade-long effort and remains Noyes' proudest accomplishment.

"It's been a wonderful thing," Noyes said of the brick stage that is adorned by a tent before the start of each concert.

The director position has grown immensely since Noyes assumed the role in the 1980s, Town Manager Nat Tupper said. The department was only 6 years old when Noyes took the job, and she was already its fourth director. Back then, it handled adult education services, plus parks and recreation.

Today, the department also provides assistance to area organizations and community groups, including the youth soccer team The Colts, the Yarmouth Community Garden and Firehouse Arts. The department employs eight full-time workers, plus seasonal help.

"She's got a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm that she brings to work. She's a huge reservoir of local knowledge. And she has the ability to work with all kinds of groups on a variety of projects," Tupper said. "She helps build community connections that are so much a part of living here. "

In 1986, the list of community programs could fit on two pages. Now they're printed in thick, glossy brochures.

Parks in Yarmouth have changes substantially, too. In the 1980s, the town owned 100 acres of public land. Today, the acreage has swelled to more than 600.

"It's amazing," Noyes said. "We were very progressive when we first stared acquiring open space."

Sports have also expanded, she added.

"When I started here, there was no football, no lacrosse, no youth soccer program," she said. "Little League was here, but that was pretty much it."

Noyes said much of the department's success is due to community volunteers, including Yarmouth High School students who are required to volunteer 60 hours of community service, and Eagle Scouts.

Noyes has worked only three jobs since she graduated from Boston University in 1976 with a degree in leisure services: she served for two years in a recreation department at a nursing home near Boston, then as a recreation supervisor for eight years in Portland before joining the Yarmouth staff.

Tupper said he's not sure how many people have been employed with the town longer than Noyes, but said there are probably a few.

"We're very blessed in Yarmouth that people stay. We have good stability in our workforce. We have some turnover, which is natural, but we have some really great people here who enjoy their work and do it well," he said.

Noyes will be replaced later this month by Karyn Garofoli, now the assistant director of the parks and rec department in Bath.

There's one last opportunity to celebrate Noyes' career in Yarmouth. The final night of the Yarmouth Summer Arts Series, scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, features The Tone Kings, a blues, soul and funk band that is one of Noyes' favorites. The park will also be decorated with kites.

"It's my swan song," she said of the event, which she helped plan. "It's my final soiree. It's all coming together quite beautifully."

Ben McCanna can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or bmccanna@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @BenMcCanna.