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New director named for Miami-Dade County Parks

MIAMI (July 19, 2017)

Maria Nardi has been named director for the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department. Her official role as director starts August 1, 2017, as per her appointment by Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez.

Mayor Gimenez commented: “I am confident that Ms. Nardi will continue to lead Miami-Dade County Parks successfully as it addresses the challenges of our rapidly-evolving community. She has the leadership, talent, and experiences to capitalize on the exciting opportunities to serve and transform our community through parks’ health and built environment initiatives, all of which is essential to grow an economically-vibrant, equitable, and resilient community.”

“I am honored and thrilled to take on this new post as director of the Parks department,” Nardi shared.  “These are exciting times for our community and Parks, as we are seeing the emergence of a revitalized park and open spaces system. Parks have the power to better the way we live, work, and play.  I am thankful to be part of this wonderful endeavor that is transforming lives.”

As director for the nationally accredited and Gold Medal Award-winning Parks Department, Nardi will oversee one of the largest and most diverse park systems in the country with 270 parks on 13,573 acres of land in South Florida. Miami-Dade Parks serves approximately 2.5 million residents and 10 million visitors annually.

Nardi, who became an assistant director for Parks’ Planning and Development division in 2015 and deputy director in 2016, has been working in executive positions at the department since 2004. In her former post as Chief of Planning and Research, she developed the Parks Open Space Master Plan, which is aimed at making our community healthier and more livable, based on the guiding principles of seamlessness, beauty, accessibility, equity, and sustainability with multiple benefits. The Plan is making great progress in creating an improved system of parks, public spaces, and natural and historic areas that are inter-connected by greenways, blueways, and complete streets designed as linear parks.

Nardi has more than 18 years of experience in the private and public sector in the fields of urban design, landscape architecture, park planning, architecture and preservation. Her work includes the role of parks/public spaces in shaping cities; the emerging evidence-based science of health and the built environment; the creation of equitable, resilient communities through parks and public spaces.

In addition, while at her former post as Chief of Urban Design with the City of Miami, Nardi initiated Miami21; a rewrite of Miami’s land development regulations to transform the city into a walkable community. Nardi also holds a degree in Architecture from UM and masters in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

Miami-Dade Parks is the third largest county park system in the United States, consisting of 270 parks and 13,573 acres of land. It is one of the most unique park and recreation systems in the world and focused on Placemaking, Health and Fitness and Conservation and Stewardship. The non-profit Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade supports Miami-Dade Parks’ efforts to further develop Miami-Dade County’s world-class parks system for residents and visitors.