Hullaballoo creator wants to continue serving in area
The man who created Hullaballoo is gone from Moorhead city government. Riaz Aziz, 43, former superintendent of parks, was one of seven Moorhead employees laid off in the last month in response to state budget cuts. After the Parks and Recreation ...
The man who created Hullaballoo is gone from Moorhead city government.
Riaz Aziz, 43, former superintendent of parks, was one of seven Moorhead employees laid off in the last month in response to state budget cuts.
After the Parks and Recreation Department was split up in January to save money, Aziz served as director of special projects for six months. When the state handed Moorhead a $1.2 million cut in aid this year, that position, along with a total of 21 others, was cut.
Aziz, who was hired in 1999 to head a department that was split into maintenance and recreation components, brought vitality to his united department, said Moorhead Mayor Mark Voxland.
"He brought a new enthusiasm to Parks and Rec," Voxland said. "He was really good at event things, and that's something we'll miss from him."
Aziz, who was born in south India, moved to the United States 30 years ago and graduated from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. He later earned a master's degree, and a position as a director of projects, at North Dakota State University.
He's a fan of both the Bison and the Sioux, he said.
"I learned it's best not to take sides," he said.
During his four-year tenure, Aziz is most proud of improving customer service in his department and creating partnerships with community organizations, he said.
He was perhaps best known for organizing Hullaballoo, a revamp of the city's summer event Valley Fest, which had grown disorganized, he said.
Several events fell through at the first Hullaballoo -- notably, a $1 million prize city officials tried to organize for anyone who broke the world record during the festival's 10K race. But Aziz said the event was largely successful, even during its first year, and its popularity increased the following summer.
For now, Aziz is using his time off to be with his family and work a home renovation project at his 1890s farm house in Comstock, Minn. But he's discussing possibilities for future jobs with local organizations, he said.
"Regardless of what my future title is and what I'm doing, I want to be serving the citizens of Fargo-Moorhead," he said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Joy Anderson at (701) 241-5556