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Bowden named city’s Community Vitality, Parks & Recreation Director

BOULDER – The City of Boulder today announced that interim director of Community Vitality Susan Connelly will be leaving the city on Aug. 23 to pursue new opportunities managing philanthropic activities for a family foundation. In her new role, Connelly will be the director of Community Relations for Hieronymus, Inc. and director of the associated foundation. Parks & Recreation Director Yvette Bowden has been named director of Community Vitality, as well as director of Parks & Recreation, effective Aug. 23.

“I’m grateful to Susan for joining the organization and for helping the city build a strong foundation on which to evolve the Community Vitality Department into a valued community partner along with the Parks & Recreation Department,” said Brautigam. “The natural synergies between the two departments and Yvette’s leadership experience make this an excellent opportunity to maximize efficiencies and collaboration for a more resilient and vital community.”

The recent Community Vitality assessment conducted by the Novak Consulting Group highlighted several synergies between Community Vitality and the Parks & Recreation Department in how they support economic vitality, downtown management and public space management/events. To fully reflect these collaborative efforts and to maximize organizational efficiencies, the two departments will not be combined, but will operate under the leadership of a single department director. In the coming months, the city will recruit a deputy director of Community Vitality; Alison Rhodes will continue to aid in leading Parks & Recreation as its deputy director.

“Susan made significant contributions to Boulder since joining the city and played a vital role in transitioning Community Vitality after former director Molly Winter retired,” said City Manager Jane Brautigam. “While she will be greatly missed in our organization, we applaud her opportunity to manage philanthropic activities for a family foundation.”

During Connelly’s tenure with the city, she built on her experience as the executive director of the Colorado Chautauqua Association to help the city implement the Chautauqua Access Management Plan pilot that debuted in 2017. She also was instrumental in the Door to Downtown program that subsidized transportation to the downtown shopping areas to reduce parking demand during the holidays to enhance Boulder’s economic vitality.

Bowden joined the city in 2014 as deputy director of Parks & Recreation and was later promoted to director with expanded duties including executive leadership of Boulder’s downtown Civic Area redevelopment project. In her new role, Bowden will be the city’s liaison to the Boulder Chamber and Downtown, University Hill and Boulder Junction districts, responsible for city-owned parking facilities, redevelopment initiatives, and 1,800 acres of urban park space, programs and amenities.

Prior to joining the City of Boulder, Bowden was president and chief executive officer of Piedmont Park Conservancy in Atlanta, Ga., and represented the organization on the Midtown Alliance Board. Her background also includes 20 years’ experience with Fortune 100 companies and nonprofits where she was employed as an attorney, head of People Services and Global Inclusion and Americas Foundation president. Bowden holds business and juris doctorate degrees from Pace University Lubin School of Business and the School of Law.

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