City Hires New Parks & Recreation Director

The City of Tucson is pleased to announce the selection and hiring of Brent Dennis as the Director of Tucson Parks and Recreation. Dennis will begin serving on April 2.

A nationwide, competitive search process was undertaken to fill this important position, with finalists participating in multiple stakeholder panel interviews that included neighborhood representatives, Parks community partners, Parks user groups, members of the Parks Foundation, members of the Tucson Zoological Society, Parks employees, union representatives, City executive management, and members of the Mayor and Council and their staffs. 

“I've never been more professionally or personally excited about a new leadership opportunity than I am in joining the City of Tucson's executive team,” Dennis said. “My passion for excellence in parks and recreation will motivate me every day to serve the residents of this beautiful city and enhance their quality of life. I can't wait for April 2nd to arrive.”

Dennis has had an extensive career in both the public and nonprofit arenas. Educated as a landscape architect, he began his public sector parks career working with the Columbus Ohio Recreation & Parks Department, serving as a Landscape Architect and Design Director. There, he had the opportunity to design zoological garden exhibits with Columbus Zoo Director Jack Hanna, as well as recreational facilities, bikeways, nature trails, and specialty gardens. Later in his career, Dennis served the residents of the Bay Area, working for the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department as Director of the Botanical Garden, the Conservatory of Flowers, and Assistant Director of Operations for Golden Gate Park. Most recently, he served the City of Anaheim as the Director of the Community Services Department, leading four divisions that include Parks, Recreation, Human and Neighborhood
Services, Libraries and Golf Courses.  

In the nonprofit arena, he served as Executive Director of the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculptural Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he led the organization through a master planning and long-range strategic planning process that helped propel it to the second leading attraction in Michigan and achieve recognition as one of the top 100 visited museums in the world. 

As Parks and Recreation Director, Dennis will oversee an operating and capital improvement budget of more than $38 million and lead more than 430 employees. His job will involve operating and maintaining 128 parks; 19 regional, neighborhood, and recreation centers; 26 swimming pools; three urban fishing lakes; three tennis centers; the nationally accredited Reid Park Zoo; nature trails; sports fields; and hundreds of recreational programs, community programs, and special events.