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Director of Parks, Recreation and Open Space – Louisville, Colorado


The Position

Louisville’s next Director of Parks, Recreation and Open Space has thae opportunity to live and work in one of Colorado’s premier communities. Nestled near the gorgeous Rocky Mountain foothills, Louisville is perennially ranked as one of the best small towns in the United States for its outstanding quality of life. Money magazine and others have recognized Louisville’s highly-educated population, recreational opportunities, family-friendly ambiance, high-tech acumen, urban amenities, and low crime rate. Louisville is a small town with big ambition and a focus on economic and environmental sustainability. The City and citizens’ commitment to parks, recreation, and open space reflects their values on livability, health, and environmental sustainability.

Working under the supervision of the City Manager, the Director of Parks, Recreation and Open Space manages the daily activities of the entire department, prepares and administers the department’s annual budget, and promotes interdepartmental cooperation on common projects and functions of the three department divisions. As the face of the department, the Director of Parks, Recreation and Open Space will facilitate open lines of communication with elected officials, staff members, the media, and the general public. The Director of Parks, Recreation and Open Space actively endorses department programs, encourages community participation, and serves as the department liaison to citizen advisory boards and other key community stakeholders.

The Director is responsible for planning, operating, and maintaining all parks and natural open space lands within the City and manages the newly expanded and renovated Louisville Recreation/ Senior Center (which voters approved to expand and will be completed in late 2018/early 2019), Klubert Warembourg Fishing Pond, Louisville Cemetery, Memory Square outdoor pool, Louisville Sports Complex, Coal Creek Golf Course (which was completely rebuilt three years ago after a major flood), Harper Lake, the Arboretum, a recycling center, fourteen playgrounds, several bike paths, and all recreation programs. Additionally, Louisville’s next Director of Parks, Recreation and Open Space will oversee the City’s forestry program, caring for approximately 10,000 trees through sound arboriculture practices.

The Director of Parks, Recreation and Open Space has seven direct reports, which includes the head golf professional, open space manager, golf superintendent, senior administrative assistant, parks project manager, parks superintendent, and recreation superintendent.

Form of Government

Louisville operates with a council-manager form of government and is a home rule charter city. The non-partisan city council consists of the mayor, elected at-large, and six council members, elected from three wards. Terms of office are four years and limited to two terms. Ward representative elections are staggered. Elections happen in odd-numbered years. In addition to the city manager, the city council appoints the city attorney, the municipal judge, the prosecuting attorney, and 15 separate boards and commissions and its members.

The Organization

The City’s structure and operations have been designed to ensure an open and responsive government that integrates a highly dedicated staff, thoughtful elected officials, an involved citizenry, diverse businesses, and regional cooperation to provide high-quality and cost-effective services.

Louisville provides a wide range of services to residents and businesses including water and sewer; police protection; planning, zoning, and building safety; street and road maintenance; parks, open space, and recreation; a library; a historical museum, and a golf course.

The Department

The Parks, Recreation, & Open Space department employs 80 FTEs and has a FY2018 operating budget totaling $8,081,510. The three divisions within the Parks and Recreation department are Parks, Open Space, and Recreation and Senior Services. It is anticipated that an additional five full time FTEs will be added after the new Recreation Center addition is completed in December 2018.

  • Parks: The Parks division operates over 350 acres of parkland, Louisville Cemetery, and Louisville Sports Complex. Specific maintenance carried out by the Parks division includes playground maintenance, graffiti removal, restroom maintenance, mowing, and trash and snow removal.
  • Open Space: All open space lands and trails within Louisville are operated by the Open Space division. The City owns or has an interest in roughly 1,900 acres of open lands, 680 of which are owned and managed solely by the City. Each open space property is classified as at least one of the four following categories – preserve, protect, visitor, and other. Open lands within Louisville act as visual buffers from neighboring municipalities and support numerous species of wildlife and diverse plant communities. The City’s trail system spans over 32 miles and ambles through open space parcels, such as Davidson Mesa, Coyote Run, Lake Park, and the Leon A. Wurl Wildlife Sanctuary. This division also offers free educational programs to all members of the community with a desire to learn more about Louisville’s natural resources and amenities.
  • Recreation and Senior Services: The Recreation and Senior Services division manages the Recreation/Senior Services Center and Memory Square outdoor pool. Recreation programs operated by this division include senior services, youth and teen services, aquatics, cultural programs, and youth and adult sports. The Recreation Advisory Board oversees an 18-hole municipal golf course encompassing 160 acres.

Louisville’s Parks, Recreation & Open Space department is fully committed to maintaining the City’s public areas, but budgetary constraints do not always allow for such endeavors. The City’s “Adopt an Open Space, Park, Golf, or Trail Program” provides enhanced maintenance and even landscaping of public areas, utilizing the voluntary talent of individuals, businesses, organizations, clubs, churches, and schools throughout the community.

Experience and Education

Requirements for this position are a bachelor’s degree in environmental conservation, ecology, community planning, resource management, parks management, recreation, public administration, or a closely related field and five (5) years of progressively responsible experience in parks and recreation management, natural land/open space and parks planning, or land management, of which at least three (3) years were spent in a supervisory capacity.

Preferred qualifications include a master’s degree in a relevant field; experience with budget development and personnel management; and in-depth knowledge of modern principles and practices of public administration, risk management and safety issues, and the methods and principles used in the administration of natural open space lands.

The Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate is a knowledgeable professional with the ability to think strategically, strong interpersonal skills, and the capacity to effectively communicate both orally and in writing. Louisville’s next Director of Parks, Recreation and Open Space will be visible and active in the community, self-motivated, energetic, and have experience delivering high quality parks, recreation, and open space services to residents. This candidate is able to complete capital projects within established deadlines; interpret relevant federal, state, and local regulations; innovate, promote and market departmental programs; and improve upon community engagement efforts. The ideal candidate will bring fresh ideas, a strong customer-service orientation, and be comfortable working with advisory boards, customers, and citizens who care deeply about their community.

The next Director of Parks, Recreation and Open Space has demonstrated success in forging relationships with key intergovernmental and regional partners and understands the fundamentals of parks, natural resource management, and recreation. He or she is an organized team-player with extensive problem-solving skills, change management skills, and superb judgment. The ideal candidate will welcome the opportunity to conduct field visits, participate in events and programming, and engage with customers and staff routinely to stay connected to their needs. He/she will also be an active participant in citywide strategic planning, develop a complementary department strategic plan, and help develop workplans that provide clear goals for the department and staff. The ideal candidate will be able to balance the day-to-day service delivery issues as well as achieve long-term goals.

This candidate has experience overseeing land acquisition and easement negotiations, initiating grant applications, conducting employee evaluations, administering intergovernmental agreements, marketing and directing community outreach, and coordinating capital improvement projects.

Louisville’s next Director of Parks, Recreation and Open Space personifies the following traits:

  • Approachable
  • Flexible
  • An effective leader
  • Analytical and data-driven
  • Solution-oriented
  • Strategic thinker
  • Personable
  • Articulate
  • Politically astute

The Community

Established in 1878, Louisville retains connections to its modest mining and agricultural beginnings while continuing to transform into one of the most livable, innovative, and economically vibrant communities in the United States. The City is located in Boulder County, about six miles east of Boulder and a short commute northwest of Downtown Denver. Over 70% of Louisville residents possess a college degree and the community is continuously ranked amongst the best places to live and raise a family in the entire country.

The City owns, either alone or in conjunction with other governmental entities, approximately 1900 acres of designated open space. Throughout the community, there are also 28 parks and over 32 miles of interconnecting trails for biking and hiking. These neighborhood trails connect Louisville to a larger network of trails along U.S. Highway 36 and other major regional roadways, enabling residents to savor the natural beauty of the entire northern metro area within minutes.

In addition to abundant outdoor recreational opportunities, Louisville residents have access to arts and culture, sports, great restaurants, and the state’s third highest ranked school district. In the City’s 2016 Citizen Survey, 98% of survey respondents rated Louisville as a place to live as excellent or good and 97% rated its quality of life as excellent or good.

Residents and visitors can experience a vibrant, authentic Main Street experience that includes extensive outdoor dining; a thriving craft beer industry; Bon Appetit magazine’s best new bakery; a historical museum; landmarked homes and public buildings; art galleries and boutiques; an in-season farmers market; live music venues; and a state-of-the-art library.

Community events are numerous and fun, including assorted 5K and 10K runs, bike races, outdoor music concerts, art walks, and seasonal festivals.

The proximity to The University of Colorado and the Colorado School of Mines as well as several national laboratories, including NOAA, NIST, and NCAR, has spawned a robust high-tech business and manufacturing presence in Louisville’s Colorado Tech Center, a master planned business park. Residents of CTC can work on the nation’s next space shuttle, exercise at the nearby climbing gym, and then enjoy a craft brew down the street.

As Money magazine noted, “Add in dry, clear weather, little crime, good health care, low taxes, and Louisville is pretty tough to beat.”

Quick Facts

  • Population: 20,128
  • Median Household Income: $94,302
  • Median Household Value: $440,300
  • Median Age: 42.2
  • Total Area: 8.09 square miles


The expected hiring range is $130,000 – 165,000 depending upon qualifications and experience, with a generous benefits package.

How to Apply

Apply Online

Applications will be accepted electronically by The Novak Consulting Group at and will be kept confidential. Applicants first complete a brief online form and then are prompted to provide one document (Word or PDF) that contains a cover letter and resume with salary history. The position is open until filled with a first review of applications October 1, 2018.


Please direct questions to Catherine Tuck Parrish at 513-221-0500 or

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