Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger today announced the appointment of Cindi Wight as the new director of the Burlington Parks, Recreation, & Waterfront Department (BPRW). Cindi brings over 24 years of experience, including four years as the Superintendent (Director) of the Rutland Recreation & Parks Department, where she oversees all aspects of the department, including budgeting, long-range planning, grant writing, and community partnerships. Cindi was selected as a member of the American Academy of Parks & Recreation for Administrators in 2015, and under her leadership, Rutland Recreation & Parks’ park and theatre projects have gained state and national attention for their creative approaches to expanding services that benefit all community members. Mayor Weinberger has asked the City Council to confirm the appointment at its August 28, 2017meeting.
“Cindi Wight comes to the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Waterfront in a period of new Park building, capital investment, and programmatic expansion,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “Cindi’s commitment to the Parks & Recreation profession, understanding of Vermont, and record of effective leadership makes her the right person to lead the department at this exciting time.”
“I am excited for the privilege of leading the amazing BPRW team,” said Cindi Wight. “I look forward to building on the current momentum and continuing to make Burlington a great place to live, work and play!”
Cindi grew up in LeRoy, NY where her parents still reside. Cindi has been married to Keith Wight from Newry, ME for 26 years. They have three college-age children, and Cindi and Keith plan to relocate to Burlington.
Cindi graduated from Bates College with a degree in Psychology and was offered a position as the first director for the San Juan Island Park & Recreation District. After spending several years working as the Recreation & Parks Director in the San Juan Island District in Washington State, Cindi served briefly as the Middlebury Parks & Recreation Program supervisor before relocating to Rutland to begin work in the Rutland Recreation & Parks Department.
Over time, she has developed a reputation as a careful listener who seeks out community input for important departmental decisions. She states in her cover letter: “I strongly believe in municipal parks and recreation and that we have the opportunity to improve our communities through people, parks & programs.”
Cindi has also demonstrated a strong commitment to community engagement. While Superintendent (Director) of the Rutland Recreation & Parks Department she went above and beyond what was required in her role, participating in Project Vision (a celebrated effort to assist Rutland residents struggling with addiction) and the Parks Rx Advisory Board. She also served for 14 years on the Schools Tapestry Advisory Board, as well as contributing at different times to the Killington Valley Marketing Committee and the Rutland Amateur Hockey Association Board. She has also proven herself to be a skilled manager and administrator of staff, budgets, and significant capital projects.
Record of Collaboration, Strong Leadership, and Innovation
Cindi Wight is well-prepared to take the helm of this vital city institution. Her management style has fostered an ethic of community input and mindfulness within her staff, supporting new ideas and initiatives through collaboration and dialogue. Her success is evident in her superb track record as Superintendent of the Rutland Recreation & Parks Department, where she managed the bond vote process for a new city pool that eventually passed with over 70 percent in favor. This would not have been possible without Cindi’s consistent engagement with a wide range of stakeholders and city residents—a skill which will prove valuable in Burlington.
Cindi has made a career-long commitment to staying up-to-date on the best practices within the Parks and Recreation profession, and to learning directly from some of her most motivated and creative peers across the country. In addition to her selection to the American Academy for Parks & Recreation Administrators, she was also appointed to chair the Academy’s Externship Committee this year and has been serving as a member of the National Recreation & Park Association since 2011.
A Period of Expansion and Improvement in DPRW
Cindi will lead a department that has enjoyed years of success and progress and is focused on achieving important new milestones in the years ahead. These highlights and goals include:
- The Department has opened and upgraded numerous parks in recent years and this era of historic parks expansion will continue in the years ahead. Recent successes include the creation of a new park and lake access improvements in the Urban Reserve, the completion of Phase 1 of the Bike Path Rehabilitation, the construction of the A_Dog Williams Skatepark, and the acquisition of 12 acres of new parkland from the former Burlington College property. Over the next few years, the City will improve this new park, complete a new waterfront park by the skatepark, complete the rebuilding of the Bike Path, and renovate City Hall Park.
- Burlingtonians can also look forward to benefiting from the new Old North End Community Center at the St. Joe’s School building, which will be coordinated and staffed by BPRW alongside community partners like the Association of Africans Living in Vermont (AALV) and the Champlain Housing Trust (CHT). The community center will focus on intergenerational programming of all types, and will combine opportunities for active recreation in the gym with teen and adult learning in the classrooms, along with community space for meetings and festivities. It will also host BPRW’s expanded senior programming through the Champlain Senior Center beginning on November 1, 2017.
Search Process and Next Steps
The national search for the new BPRW Director was conducted by an eight-person committee that reviewed dozens of applications from across the country in June and July and ultimately recommended three finalists out of more than 50 candidates to the Mayor at the end of July.
Those finalists participated in an additional process that involved meeting community stakeholders, including AALV, the Burlington Business Association, CHT, members of the City’s Diversity and Equity Core Team, members of the City’s Parks Commission, City Department Heads, the BPRW Leadership Team, and the Mayor. If confirmed by the Council on August 28, Cindi will begin her service to the City on October 1, 2017.