NY parks and recreation official hired for local post
Updated 5:41 am, Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Jennifer A. Fava has been appointed the town’s new parks and recreation director, First Selectman Jim Marpe announced Monday.
Fava, who replaces Stuart McCarthy, the longtime director who retired in June, begins her new job Sept. 1, Marpe said.
Until recently, Fava served for three years as the commissioner of parks and recreation in the town of North Hempstead, N.Y., where she managed a work force of 385 full- and part-time employees, according to Marpe’s statement. She also oversaw an operating budget three times larger than Westport’s Parks and Recreation Department budget, he indicated.
She managed the maintenance, operations and improvements of 53 park facilities (approximately 900 acres) including golf courses, a marina, the Clark Botanical Garden, aquatic facilities, an athletic stadium, and a 60,000-square-foot community center. She increased department revenues and program offerings and reorganized the department with a new management structure for greater efficiency and cost effectiveness, according to Marpe. She also implemented a more user-friendly website with new on-line registration and facility reservation capability, the first selectman’s statement said.
Prior to that, Fava served as the superintendent of parks and recreation for the town of Yorktown, N.Y., for nine years. There, she managed 29 parks, related facilities and personnel, and was responsible for approximately 750 acres of open space, the statement said.
“I believe it is important to ensure a balance of active and passive recreation opportunities and to look at each site not only on an individual basis, but also as a part of the entire park system as a whole,” Fava said in the statement.
“Open space is critical not only for providing passive opportunities, but also for the aesthetics and environmental benefits of the community,” she added. “I’m looking forward to working with the staff and the Parks and Recreation Commission to address key issues for the Parks and Recreation Department and the Westport community.”
Fava is a member of numerous professional associations, boards and committees, including the National Recreation and Park Association and the New York State Recreation and Park Society, and is chairwoman of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Consortium Executive Board. She holds a B.S. degree in leisure studies and resources from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an MBA from Fordham University.
“I am most impressed with Jen’s background and work history,” Marpe said. “Her dedication and commitment to her chosen profession are precisely what we are looking for in a parks and recreation director,” he added. “And, because the town of North Hempstead’s scope of facilities is very similar to Westport’s,” with its golf course, beaches, marine facilties and hiking trails, “I am confident that she is well prepared to have an immediate impact on our existing facilities.”
“Jen has an outstanding resume of experience which makes her supremely qualified to lead Westport’s continuing efforts to improve our parks system and recreation offerings,” Charlie Haberstroh, the Parks and Recreation Commission chairman and chairman of the search committee, said in the announcement.
“I am also pleased to note that Jen’s active involvement in numerous professional associations in her field of expertise will keep her and Westport abreast of best practices in the profession,” Haberstroh said. “I am confident that the critical projects we have in our capital forecast will be addressed and will move forward in a thorough and professional manner.”