Kathryn Ott Lovell was appointed commissioner of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation by Mayor Jim Kenney in January 2016. In this position, Kathryn oversees 700 full-time employees, more than 2,700 part-time and seasonal employees, over 10,200 acres of land, 500 buildings, 166 miles of trail, 250 playgrounds, and thousands of programs and events throughout Philadelphia’s parks and recreation system.
In 2017, Kathryn commissioned the first strategic plan for Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. The plan, Our Path to 2020, established a renewed vision for the department and set in motion a powerful trajectory toward equitable and exceptional parks and recreation system that connects people to each other, to enriching experiences, and to the natural world. The plan emphasizes citizen-centric service; high quality, relevant, and accessible programs; and a commitment to well-maintained assets.
Kathryn has presented widely on topics ranging from urban forestry to climate change, to why parks are crucial to our future. Notable speaking and panel appearances include the South by Southwest Conference (SXSW), National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Conference, the City Parks Alliance’s Greater & Greener Conference, and the One Water Summit. In 2018, Kathryn served as the 2018 NRPA Robert W. Crawford Lecturer.
Currently, Kathryn serves on the Board of Directors for the Please Touch Museum, Schuylkill River Development Corporation, Parkway Council, Free Library of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Sports Congress.