On June 2nd, 2009 NPC held its annual Meeting with the Mayor at San Francisco’s City Hall. This event is an opportunity for park advocates to hold the City accountable for park performance, and keep parks on the civic radar.
Over 75 park advocates were in attendance, with 8 presenting questions for Mayor Newsom directly. Questions focused on specific topics, including: park maintenance, volunteerism, partnerships, and alternative recreation. Recreation and Park Department (RPD) Interim General Manager Jared Blumenfeld was also in attendance, and answered questions presented by park advocates.
Mayor Newsom concluded the meeting with final remarks, and surprised those in attendance by officially announcing the new General Manager of RPD, Phil Ginsburg. Formerly Mayor Newsom’s Chief of Staff, Phil has been a steadfast park advocate, and underscored his love and commitment of San Francisco’s parks. In fact, his first volunteer experience in the city was with NPC! Phil will begin his new job on July 7th.
Following the meeting, a reception was held in honor of Isabel Wade, NPC’s founder and current Executive Director. After 13 years of leading the Neighborhood Parks Council, Isabel will be stepping down as Executive Director beginning July 1st. Park advocates joined NPC and City staff in celebrating Isabel’s achievements, and welcomed NPC’s soon-to-be Executive Director, a familiar face, Deputy Director Meredith Thomas.
After a rough budgetary season, which includes a large General Fund reduction to RPD’s budget, the meeting and reception underscored the important role that advocates and volunteers play in sustaining our city’s parks. As a new chapter begins for both RPD and NPC, we look forward to continuing to engage the community in making San Francisco’s parks world class.
To see photos from the meeting and reception, click here.