Mayor Dan Pike has named James King of Alaska as the new city parks director. King formerly served as director of state parks for the state of Alaska.
Here are some background links on King. This one is a news report from the Juneau Empire announcing King’s 2007 appointment to his Alaska job. This one is a blog post that offers a letter from the Alaska Trails organization asking Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell to keep King in his state position, citing a long list of his accomplishments. Here is a link to an Alaska Trails newsletter explaining the circumstances of King’s departure.
And here is the press release from City Hall announcing King’s appointment to the $106,500-a-year position:
Bellingham — Mayor Dan Pike announced today (Monday, Oct. 3, 2011) that James King, a local government community development director and former parks director for the State of Alaska, has accepted the position of director of the Bellingham Parks and Recreation Department.
Pike said he chose King from among several well-qualified candidates because of his extensive executive leadership experience, his ability to drive innovations and gain efficiencies, and his authentic passion for the role parks and recreation plays in the life of a community.
“He has been successful during boom and bust times, bringing people together, listening to their needs and interests, and finding creative ways to fund improvements and solve problems,” Pike said. “He has a genuine love of the outdoors, and, as the father of four, a deep commitment to creating legacies for future generations.”
King currently serves as the Community Development Director for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, a community of 80,000, where he is responsible for land management, an ice arena, two swimming pools, 2,000 miles of trails and parks, five libraries and 60 employees.
In his four years with the State of Alaska, King was responsible for the oversight of 122 parks, 134 employees, and a $16 million capital and operating budget. King said under his direction, for the first time ever, the department reduced a $65 million backlog of deferred park and trail maintenance, working with community members around the state to make badly needed improvements to worn out facilities.
He also served for 10 years as executive director of Trail Mix, Inc., a Juneau-based non-profit that serves to coordinate trail planning, funding and improvements on more than 200 miles of trails managed by the U.S. Forest Service, Alaska State Parks and the City and Borough of Juneau.
“I have a great understanding of the importance of safe, clean, well-maintained recreational facilities, and their importance to the physical, mental and economic health of a community,” King said.
“Bellingham ’s commitment to create world-class parks and greenways is exciting and inspiring. I saw it and felt it everywhere, throughout my interactions with community members, City employees and City leaders, and I look forward to becoming part of it.”
King is a life-long volunteer, outdoor enthusiast and parks and trails user. He and his wife Chris have four children. He said he is excited to join such a professional and enthusiastic team of employees and volunteers, who are so committed to continuing the development of one of the best parks and greenways system in the world.
King holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation Resource Management from the University of Montana (1994) and a Master of Science degree in Landscape Architecture from North Carolina State University (1997).
He will begin employment with the City of Bellingham on Nov. 1, 2011, at a salary of $106,500 per year.