Allegra “Happy” Haynes is the Executive Director of Denver Parks and Recreation and has served in this role since September 2015. Through her work on the State Parks Board and on the advisory boards of the Nature Conservancy and the Trust for Public Land, Happy has been involved in shaping policy on conservation, watershed management, water quality, wildlife protection and recreational access for nearly twenty years.
Under Happy’s leadership, the department has worked collaboratively with other city agencies to create green infrastructure design standards and to plan and implement projects to restore habitat, improve water quality, provide flood mitigation and increase recreational amenities. The River Vision is a planning effort involving multiple stakeholders to reshape the South Platte River into a safe, vibrant corridor of commerce, mobility, recreation, wildlife habitat and water resource. An innovative agreement with the local water utility provider to reduce water consumption and implement water reuse methods has saved millions of dollars. She is playing a key role in the planning and development of the largest storm water project in the Denver’s history to mitigate flood risk affecting ten neighborhoods, redesigning a park, an 18-hole golf course and creating over 12 acres of new recreational open space.
Happy served as a member of the Denver City Council for 13 years and served for 8 years on the Denver Public Schools Board of Education. She is a Denver native and received her BA degree from Barnard College at Columbia University and an MPA from the University of Colorado at Denver. She currently serves on the national board of the City Parks Alliance and on the boards of the Colorado Trust for Public Land, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver Zoo, Denver Botanic Gardens, Salazar Center for North American Conservation, Civic Center Conservancy, Denver Park Trust and The Park People.