By Kellie Patrick Gates
A planner, a land conservation specialist and the former Fairmount Park director are among Mayor Michael Nutter’s nine picks for the newly created Commission on Parks and Recreation.
The Fairmount Park Commission and the city’s recreation department were combined to create the Commission after voters approved an amendment to the city charter in November, 2008.
“Today’s announcement is a major milestone in our quest to create the nation’s premier parks and recreation system,” said Mayor Nutter. “The nine individuals selected for the Commission share my vision for Philadelphia’s parks and recreation facilities and have demonstrated a commitment to public service. These are the guardians of the city’s treasures.”
Nutter announced his choices at a Thursday press conference at Mander Playground, 33rd and Diamond. City Council received more than 200 applications for the positions, then forwarded a whittled-down list of 25 to the mayor. In addition to the mayor’s 9 picks, six ex-officio members make up the Commission.
Here are the names and short biographies of the mayor’s choices, provided by the mayor’s press office:
Nancy Goldenberg (Chair) is the Vice President of Planning for the Center City District.
Prior to joining Center City District, she administered the Natural Lands Restoration and Environment Education Program for the Fairmount Park Commission. She currently serves as head of the Friends of Carpenter’s Woods and is a past member of the Fairmount Park Advisory Council and a past board member of the Philadelphia Parks Alliance. Also, she was the founder of Outward Bound in Philadelphia. Nancy has lived adjacent to Fairmount Park for 27 years and is a regular user and volunteer.
Debra Wolf Goldstein is the president of Conservation Matters, LLC, a legal and consulting firm with a focus on land conservation issues. She is a member of the Fairmount Park Conservancy board and, since 2008, has served as the Mayor’s designee on the Fairmount Park Commission. Prior, she served as Vice President of the Fairmount Park Commission from 2002-2007.
Jeffrey Hackett is a Pest Control Technician with the School District of Philadelphia. He is the president of the Helen G. Sturgis Advisory Board, on the Executive Board of the Melrose Park Gardens Civic Association, and is a member of his local Police District Advisory Council and Eagle Eye Task Force.
Pete Hoskins is the former Director of Fairmount Park. Prior to working for the City for nearly 30 years, Pete spent 13 years working at the Philadelphia Zoo. He has had extensive community affiliations over the years.
Anthony Langford is an employee at PGW. He is the President of the Friends of East Fairmount Park and on the board of the Strawberry Mansion Community Development Corporation.
Leslie Anne Miller is a lawyer in private practice with thirty years of practice in both the private and public sector. She is active in a number of community organizations, including serving on the Board of Directors of the Fairmount Conservancy and on the Executive Committee of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.
Carol Rice is retired from the Department of Recreation after 35 years of service. She currently serves as the Chairman of the Warrington Township Park and Recreation Board and additionally volunteers her time through the Caring People Alliance, as a public school tutor, and as an active and long-time member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
Carlos Rodriguez is the Assistant Vice President/Branch Manager at Beneficial Bank in Philadelphia. He has played baseball both recreationally and semi-professionally and is the President of Puerto Rico Stars, which offers free baseball clinics to youth in North Philadelphia each spring, among other programs.
Sarah Clark Stuart is the co-coordinator of the Schuylkill River Park Alliance and a consultant to the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. She is a member of the board of the Lower Schuylkill River Users Association as well as the Logan Square Neighborhood Association. Sarah is a trail and bicycling advocate and active park user.
The ex-officio members of the commission are: Water Commissioner Bernie Brunwasser; City Council President Anna C. Verna’s designee, attorney Barbara Capozzi; Parks and Recreation Commissioner and Senior Advisor to the Mayor Michael DiBerardinis, Planning Commission Executive Director Alan Greenberger, Pubplic Property Commissioner Joan Schlotterbeck and Streets Commissioner Clarence Tolson.
“This Commission will play an absolutely central role in shaping the future of parks and recreation in Philadelphia,” said DiBerardinis, who, along with At-large Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and 5th District Councilman Darrell Clark, joined Nutter at the press conference. “The Commissioners will be looking at guidelines as well as regulations and legislation to consider best practices on protecting public land, and will report back to the Mayor and City Council with recommendations.”
Last month, DiBerardinis released a draft document outlining the ‘Vision, Mission, and Goals’ of the new Department of Parks and Recreation. The draft reflects the views of more than 700 community partners and staff, who have reviewed the document since early May. Commissioner DiBerardinis and Departmental staff will visit neighborhoods across the city to meet with communities for their input on the new Department of Parks and Recreation.
“The nomination and selection of appointees was one of the most difficult things that I had to do as a Council person,” said Clarke. “I believe that the Mayor has done a great job with the representation of this highly qualified and broad based Commission that will represent the character of Philadelphia. They will provide significant guidance to the City of Philadelphia as we strive to enhance on the Parks and Recreation systems.”