Adrian Benepe Joins The Trust for Public Land as Urban Programs Director

June 18, 2012

Adrian Benepe, New York City’s Commissioner of Parks and Recreation for the past decade, will become Senior Vice President of City Park Development at The Trust for Public Land, the leading conservation organization for creating parks and playgrounds in cities across America.

His new position was announced today by New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Christopher K. Kay, Chief Operating Officer of The Trust for Public Land.

Mayor Bloomberg said, “Adrian Benepe has done extraordinary work as New York City’s Parks Commissioner leading transformative changes in every corner of New York City.  I have always said that when New York City leads, cities, states, and nations around the world soon follow. We’ll miss Adrian, but I couldn’t be prouder that he is going to lead The Trust for Public Land’s new initiative to replicate our work in cities across the country.”

Kay welcomed Benepe, saying, “We are thrilled Adrian is joining The Trust for Public Land.  With his experience and record of success, he will be a catalyst to help other cities build their park systems just like he has done so successfully in New York.  I am so impressed with his commitment to creating parks that will serve the needs of people, both now and for future generations."

Kay continued, “As part of our efforts to help communities improve their parks, we recently launched ParkScore®, a ranking of park systems in our 40 largest cities.  It is a road map which shows cities how to build better park systems and Adrian will be able to use it in working with cities to improve access to parks.”

“We want as many people as possible to live within a 10-minute walk of a great park,” said Kay. “That’s why we are creating this new position.  We are the only organization that has made this kind of commitment to urban parks.”

Benepe said, “I’m joining this organization because I’ve seen how effective and efficient The Trust for Public Land is.  In the past 30 years, it has helped create, protect, and revitalize more than 290 parks, playgrounds, community gardens, and natural areas in New York City.  I passionately share their view that everyone needs a nearby place to play and get outside and I want to help other cities build the kind of park system The Trust for Public Land has helped create in New York.”

Benepe, who will move to his new position later this summer, has been New York’s Commissioner of Parks and Recreation since 2002, running a city agency of 9,000 employees who oversee a 29,000-acre park system.  It has a total annual budget of $1.1 billion, including operations, capital projects, fringe benefits and debt service.

Major new parks and facilities created or completed under Commissioner Benepe’s leadership include: Brooklyn Bridge Park, Fresh Kills Park on Staten Island,  Manhattan’s Highline, the Yankee Stadium replacement parks in The Bronx, the West Harlem Piers Park, Bushwick Inlet Park in Brooklyn, Elmhurst Park in Queens, the Concrete Plant Park and Barretto Point Park in the Bronx, Icahn Track & Field Stadium and Randall’s Island Fields, the Ocean Breeze Track and Field Center under construction on Staten Island, Brooklyn’s Prospect Park Lakeside Center, and the Flushing Meadows Pool and Rink in Queens. In addition, 40 miles of greenways in parks were created.

Benepe also helped lead the Million Trees program (through which more than 600,000 trees have already been planted) and a partnership with the National Park Service to develop a jointly managed park system in Jamaica Bay.

Before being appointed by Mayor Bloomberg in 2002 as the city’s Parks Commissioner, he was the Recreation & Parks Commissioner for the borough of Manhattan from 1996-2002, where he managed the borough’s 300 parks and playgrounds.

He is a graduate of Middlebury College and received a Master’s degree in Journalism from Columbia University.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit organization based in San Francisco.  Since its founding 40 years ago, it has completed more than 5,200 park and conservation projects and conserved more than 3 million acres in 47 states, and has helped generate more than $33 billion in state and local conservation funding.