3/31/16 Beth White, National Leader in Conserving Land for Parks, Will Head Houston Parks Board
Christine Cantrell, Elmore Public Relations
Christine [at] elmorepr [dot] com / 713-524-0661
Catherine Butsch, Houston Parks Board
catherine [at] houstonparksboard [dot ] org / 713-942-8500 x18
Beth White, National Leader in Conserving Land for Parks, Will Head Houston Parks Board
HOUSTON – March 31, 2016 – One of the nation’s leading urban park planners will take on the role of Houston Parks Board President and CEO. Houston Parks Board announced today that Beth White has accepted the leadership position, beginning in June. White brings extensive experience from The Trust For Public Land, where she serves currently as director, Chicago region, and oversaw the development of Chicago’s innovative park and elevated trail system, The 606. Over the past decade, White has led several successful projects that involved public-private partnerships, planning, fundraising and opening new parks throughout the Chicago metropolitan region, spanning three states. White was also instrumental in the designation of Hackmatack, the only U.S. National Wildlife Refuge within 150 miles of Chicago and Milwaukee.
“Beth’s proven track record in delivering and activating public/private parks and transportation solutions in complex jurisdictions is unparalleled,” said Tom Bacon, Chairman of the Board, Houston Parks Board. “Beth joins Houston Parks Board at an important time in its history. Her national perspective and tactical collaboration skills will be invaluable as the organization completes Bayou Greenways 2020 and envisions future open space initiatives for our city.”
“I am honored to be joining the team at the Houston Parks Board, a dynamic and innovative organization that is leading one of the nation’s most exciting and ambitious park programs,” said White. “This team understands the impact parks and greenways have on people’s lives and the economic vitality of our cities. I am eager to participate in the further greening of Houston. And personally, as someone who grew up in Pensacola, Florida, I am thrilled to be returning to the Gulf Coast, which has always held a special place in my heart.”
White joins Houston Parks Board as the organization is implementing and maintaining the $220 million Bayou Greenways 2020 Project, beginning renovations to the Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark, realizing a host of neighborhood park improvements and planning for future greenspace development. She will oversee a staff of more than twenty real estate, park planning and nonprofit administration professionals.
While at The Trust for Public Land, White led the public/private effort to open Phase One of The 606 on time and on budget. The $95 million project is an award-winning, three-mile urban park and elevated trail system. Built as a public green space, alternative transportation corridor and living work of art along an unused rail line, The 606 now connects four of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods on Chicago’s northwest side.
Before joining The Trust for Public Land, White served as Chicago Housing Authority managing director in charge of communication activities, resource development and intergovernmental relations for the $1.5 billion Plan for Transformation, a nationally-significant revitalization effort to create 25,000 new or rehabilitated public housing units. White also served as Chief of Staff for the Chicago Transit Board, directed the initial phases of Chicago's $100 million Empowerment Zone program, supervised the City of Chicago's award-winning CitySpace program, and, as the founding executive director of the non-profit Friends of the Chicago River, led the creation of the lauded Chicago River Urban Design Guidelines.
With this broad range of experience and accomplishments, White will bring a collaborative, community-focused approach to her new assignment. She holds a Master’s degree in urban studies from Loyola University and a Bachelor’s degree in communication studies from Northwestern University.
Download the PDF of this announcement.
The Houston Parks Board is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization whose mission is to create, improve, protect and advocate for parkland in the Greater Houston region. Since its inception in 1976, the organization has raised and leveraged millions of dollars and touched at least 75 percent of the City’s parkland either through acquisitions and/or capital improvements. For more information, visit www.houstonparksboard.org.
Bayou Greenways 2020 will create a continuous park system along Houston’s major waterways. The project will establish an interconnected system of parks and trails linking people, places and green space while enhancing air and water quality, reducing flooding and stimulating economic development. The Houston Parks Board is leading the private fundraising of $120 million and managing acquisition, design and construction of the Bayou Greenways 2020 Project over the next several years. Bayou Greenways 2020 was made possible by Houston voters who supported the “Parks by You!” city bond referendum of 2012. For more information, visit www.houstonparksboard.org/bayou-greenways-2020.
About The Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land’s mission is to create parks and protect land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To learn more, visit www.tpl.org.