By Alex Lippa
---- — PLAISTOW — The search for the new recreation director has been narrowed to two candidates.
Town Manager Sean Fitzgerald said interim director Christina Cruz and Timberlane Regional High School athletic secretary Dianne Nye are the finalists.
“These are outstanding finalists,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s impressive to have candidates with this caliber of accomplishments.”
Fitzgerald said he expects to make a decision on the position this week. A salary has not yet been set for the position, but Fitzgerald said it would be at least $16 per hour.
Cruz has worked part-time with the town as interim coordinator since June when Carli Mallette left the position due to a medical issue. Cruz’s position has ranged between 20 and 35 hours with no benefits.
“I have become familiar with the community over the last eight years that I have lived here,” Cruz said. “The ultimate goal is that every person knows that Plaistow isn’t just the place they grew up, but it is also home.”
Cruz also works part-time as a police dispatcher.
Nye was the recreation director when it was a part-time position in the early 2000s. She has been with Timberlane since 1996.
“This is something that would be fun for me,” Nye said. “When you can do something that you have fun doing, it makes a difference,”
Nye has been active in the community, coaching softball and cheerleading, and as an organizer for Old Home Day.
Nye said she believes there is a bright future within the recreation department.
“There’s the potential for a lot of growth in that department and there are many recreational uses for the land in town,” she said.
Cruz said she would target programs for seniors if she gets the job.
“Being able to make a difference in helping seniors experience new things and making sure that they’re out of the house and have some sort of interaction with other people is something I would look forward to,” she said.
Cruz also has experience working with children. She was the program coordinator at the Haverhill, Mass., Boys and Girls Club for five years and was the girls club director at the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club prior to that.
“My experience lies in youth development and I look to bringing youth program development to the community,” she said.
A committee, including Fitzgerald, Selectmen John Sherman and Daniel Poliquin, and Recreation Commission members Sue Sherman and Kristin Lewis-Savage, narrowed the 14 applicants down to two candidates.