After 16 years with the City of Santa Barbara and many years in the field of parks and recreation, Parks and Recreation Director Nancy Rapp has announced that she will retire from her executive position on August 7, 2015.
As Parks and Recreation Director, Ms. Rapp oversees a staff of 400 permanent and hourly employees and a budget totaling $23 million. The Parks and Recreation Department manages numerous recreation and sports facilities and activities, a golf course, creeks and water quality improvement programs, 59 parks, beaches, and open spaces, and an urban forest of more than 35,000 street and park trees.
Under her leadership, the Parks and Recreation Department has completed many projects that broaden the City’s recreational opportunities, including the renovation of the historic Carrillo Recreation Center and Carrillo Gym, the expansion of Bohnett Park, and the new Bath Street Pocket Park. The Twelve35 Teen Center and construction of Skater’s Point Skate Park were also finished, providing much-needed facilities for youth and teens. During her tenure, she implemented many high priority program efforts, including an award-winning Integrated Pest Management Program that substantially reduced the use of toxic pesticides in parklands. Nancy played a key leadership role in the South Coast Task Force on Youth Gangs to collaborate with regional agencies on gang prevention strategies and help secure millions in State grant funds for the unique partnership. She also guided the expansion of an inclusion program to ensure children of all abilities could safely participate in recreation programs.
Prior to joining the City of Santa Barbara in 1999, Ms. Rapp served in management positions with the UCLA Recreation Department and two smaller municipalities in the Los Angeles region. She started her career in the area of parks and recreation 45 years ago as a volunteer arts and crafts instructor with the Westside Boys Club, and worked part-time for Boys and Girls Clubs and YMCA’s a number of years, early in her career.
According to Ms. Rapp, “Looking back, I am most proud of how well the Parks and Recreation Department fared during the recession despite losing a third of funding from general tax support and a quarter of our staff positions. We remained a strong and motivated team dedicated to serve the community.”
“Nancy has accomplished so many projects as Parks and Recreation Director, even through challenging budget constraints.” said City Administrator Paul Casey. “She is also a valued member of our executive management team who contributes to various citywide budget and policy decisions. I wish her nothing but the best.”
The City is now considering recruitment options to fill the position.