Danny Vickers is stepping down as executive director of Elings Park, the largest and only privately owned public park in the country, after two stormy years at the helm. Replacing Vickers will be Michael Nelson, the former under-secretary of parks for the State of Maryland, who moved to Santa Barbara just seven months ago. Nelson, according to his résumé, has bought, built, designed, and acquired many parks, and helped create a string of parks along a 52-mile stretch of the San Diego River. Vickers said Nelson’s chief strength is his ability to forge consensus, something in short supply when it came to City Hall’s decision last year to privatize the public tennis courts at Elings Park. Vickers said he plans to return to the Elings Board of Directors, on which he’s served eight years.


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