Adrian Benepe

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Biographical Information

"Adrian Benepe has worked for more than 30 years protecting and enhancing New York City's parks, gardens and historic resources, most recently as the Commissioner of Parks & Recreation. He continues this effort but now on a national level, as Senior Vice President for City Park Development for the Trust for Public Land, starting in that position in September, 2012.

"After graduating from Middlebury College in Vermont, he became a member of the first corps of Parks & Recreation's Urban Park Rangers in 1979. He then served in several positions including Director of Public Information, Operations Coordinator, Director of Natural Resources & Horticulture (overseeing scores of restoration projects in the City's wetlands and forests), and Director of Arts & Antiquities (in charge of the City's conservation and interpretation of 1,300 statues and monuments and 23 historic house museums). From 1990 to 1993, Commissioner Benepe was the Director of the Annual Fund & Major Gifts for the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, where he expanded his knowledge of plants, trees and children's education. At the Garden, he co-founded the "Holiday Garden Railway" exhibition. From 1994 to 1996 he served as Vice President for Issues & Public Affairs for the Municipal Art Society, working on planning, historic preservation, and other civic programs, and he co-curated "Kid City," an exhibition for children on NYC's built environment.

"After six years in the non-profit sector, he returned to NYC Parks & Recreation in January 1996 as the Manhattan Borough Commissioner, where he managed Manhattan's green infrastructure of more than 300 parks, playgrounds, and malls, and helped found the Fort Tryon Park Trust, a public-private partnership for the historic park and its Heather Garden. He served in that position until he was appointed Commissioner of Parks & Recreation in January, 2002 by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, where he oversaw the operation of over 29,000 acres of public park land, encompassing nearly 5,000 properties including over 1,000 playgrounds, 600 ballfields, 600 tennis courts, 63 swimming pools, 35 recreation centers, 14 miles of beach, and over 2.5 million street and park trees, with an annual expense and capital budget of over $800 million. During his tenure, the NYC park system grew by more than 800 acres, including major new parks such as Hudson River Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the Highline, and new standards for sustainable design were introduced to guide all landscape architecture and architecture projects. He also served on 76 non-profit boards and helped to manage and develop significant public-private partnerships that contributed over one million annual volunteer hours and raised more than $165 million annually in private contributions.

"Adrian Benepe holds a B.A. in English Literature from Middlebury College and a Master's Degree in Journalism from Columbia University, where he was awarded a Pulitzer Fellowship. He lives in New York City. "[1]


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  1. New York Restoration Project Board, organizational web page, accessed February 21, 2013.