BUFFALO, NY – Stephanie Crockatt has been appointed executive director of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, the organization’s board of trustees announced today. She had held the post on an interim basis since the October 2014 resignation of Thomas Herrera-Mishler as president and CEO.
A native of Michigan, Crockatt joined the Conservancy in June 2014 after seven years as director of external affairs for the University of Georgia College of Environment & Design. From 1999 to 2007, she was president and executive director of the LPGA Tournament Owners Association, an international trade association of corporate title sponsors for the Tour. From 1995 to 1999 she served as tournament co-director for the LPGA Oldsmobile Classic which was played at Walnut Hills Country Club in East Lansing, MI. She graduated from Michigan State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture with a focus on golf course design, and a master’s degree in parks and recreation management.
While studying landscape architecture, Crockatt grew to admire Frederick Law Olmsted, the legendary figure whose iconic designs include Central Park in Manhattan, as well as examples in Chicago, Louisville and other major cities across the country. Representing the University of Georgia, Crockatt toured Buffalo and experienced Olmsted’s historic gem when she attended the annual conference of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2011.
“Stephanie has done an outstanding job as interim executive director and senior director of institutional advancement over the past seven months,” said Kevin Kelly, chairman of the Conservancy board. “Not only does she possess all of the qualifications this crucial role requires, she has demonstrated a true passion for our beloved parks and a sincere commitment to our mission.”
In October, Crockatt played a key role in Delaware Park’s selection by the American Planning Association as one of the 2014 Great Places in America; the Conservancy and the City of Buffalo received national recognition as a result. Mayor Byron Brown recognized Crockatt and ten other community leaders at the Women’s History Month reception in March. She was also featured in the WNED-TV production, “Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing Western New York,” which premiered on May 5.
“The Buffalo Olmsted Parks play an important role in Buffalo’s economic redevelopment and neighborhood revitalization and as a result of Stephanie Crockatt’s great communication, creativity and collaboration, we’ve accomplished a great deal in a short time,” said Mayor Byron Brown. “The City of Buffalo is a major partner to the Conservancy, contributing $1.2 million in operating funds, plus capital project support and additional in-kind assistance annually, and I’m confident that this partnership will thrive under her leadership.”
In 1868, Olmsted envisioned for Buffalo a design that became the nation’s first complete system of urban parks and parkways. In partnership with the City of Buffalo, the Conservancy is responsible for the care and maintenance of the system, which totals 850 acres, and is composed of six major parks, seven parkways and eight landscaped circles.
The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy is the first nonprofit organization to manage and operate an entire historic park system which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Conservancy is a membership-based community organization whose mission is to promote, preserve, restore, enhance, and maintain the region’s Olmsted-designed parks and parkways.
“This appointment is an absolute privilege, and I am honored to be selected to lead this acclaimed Conservancy and share as a partner in the historic renaissance of this exceptional city,” said Stephanie Crockatt. “Stewarding the Olmsted legacy is a tremendous opportunity, and during this interim period I have worked with a talented team of professionals, devoted board members, and caring citizens who love and appreciate this historic system. I look forward to strengthening the reputation and success of this essential organization, and will proudly keep to its mission for the benefit of all who live in and visit the Western New York region.”
With a total budget of about $3.4 million, the Conservancy has 110 full- and part-time employees who care for this historic urban landscape. More than 2.5 million people use Buffalo’s award-winning Olmsted Parks each year. The system includes Cazenovia Park, Delaware Park, Front Park, Martin Luther King Jr. Park, Riverside Park and South Park, as well as the adjoining parkways and circles that weave throughout Buffalo.