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Leadership and Structure

LeadershipThe Des Moines Parks and Recreation Board
In 1892 the Des Moines Parks and Recreation Board was created by an act of the Iowa State Legislature.  Over the years its form has evolved and changed with changes to the City’s form of government.  Today the Parks and Recreation Board is comprised of 15 members; each City Council member appoints two members and the Des Moines School Board appoints one member.

Learn more about the Parks and Recreation Board Members

Department Organization Structure

Director’s Office
Leadership, vision and direction
The director is appointed by the City Manager and provides leadership, vision and direction and implements the City Council and Parks and Recreation Board’s policy.   The Director works with the Board and leadership staff to craft strategic and financial planning objectives. 

The Director provides leadership to a staff of approximately 60 full time and 300 seasonal employees, oversees an annual budget of more than $12 million and serves as an ambassador to the community and other governmental agencies. 

The Director is responsible for the executive management of the services and operations of Des Moines Parks and Recreation and oversees Department communications and marketing.

Assistant Director’s Office
Supporting organization service delivery and strategic planning
The Assistant Director provides support to the Director and the Parks and Recreation Board.  The Assistant Director provides strategic focus and leads performance management efforts.  The Assistant Director oversees community outreach, customer service, finance, human resources, information technologies and volunteer coordination. 

Park Services
Caring for the system
Parks Services provides the expertise for the care and management of the park system.  The division oversees the maintenance of the Des Moines Parks and Trail system’s physical infrastructure, natural areas, water resources and cemetery management.

Planning Services
Developing the system
Planning services provides the expertise to lead, advise and guide the development and redevelopment of the Des Moines Park system.  The division oversees community engagement for park planning and design, park and trail master planning, design and project management for all park improvements. 

Recreation Services
Providing visitor activities
The Recreation Division provides the expertise to lead, provide and create affordable recreational, cultural, educational and leisure opportunities to benefit and enhance the lives of all Des Moines residents.  The division oversees recreation facility operations, including community recreation centers, golf courses, aquatic facilities, sports complexes and enclosed shelter houses.