Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens names new Parks and Recreation commissioner

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens held a press conference to present the City's Summer Safety Plan and announce the new interim Chief of the Atlanta Police Department, Darin Schierbaum.  Miguel Martinez / miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

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Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens held a press conference to present the City's Summer Safety Plan and announce the new interim Chief of the Atlanta Police Department, Darin Schierbaum. Miguel Martinez / miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens has appointed Justin Cutler to serve as commissioner of Atlanta’s Department of Parks and Recreation, the city announced Tuesday.

Dickens said in a statement that Cutler will oversee the implementation of more than $100 million in funds for parks and recreation expansion and improvements, which came from the bond referenda approved by Atlanta voters in May. Cutler’s first day is August 1.

“Justin is a parks pro who shares our vision of the role that parks and recreation plays in creating a more equitable city,” Dickens said in the statement.

The Parks and Recreation department develops, operates and maintains the city’s public parks, recreation centers and facilities.

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On Tuesday, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens appointed Justin Cutler (pictured) to serve as the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation commissioner, beginning Aug. 1. (City of Atlanta)

Credit: City of Atlanta

On Tuesday, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens appointed Justin Cutler (pictured) to serve as the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation commissioner, beginning Aug. 1. (City of Atlanta)

Credit: City of Atlanta

Combined ShapeCaption
On Tuesday, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens appointed Justin Cutler (pictured) to serve as the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation commissioner, beginning Aug. 1. (City of Atlanta)

Credit: City of Atlanta

Credit: City of Atlanta

Cutler currently serves as the recreation services director for the city of Seattle. A native of Issaquah, Washington, Cutler has more than 20 years of experience as a certified Parks & Recreation executive by the National Recreation & Parks Association.

“Atlanta is a city on the move, and after meeting with Mayor Dickens and his team, I could not be more thrilled to join Atlantans in building an equitable parks and recreation system that serves all our neighbors and communities,” Cutler said in a statement.

Cutler will replace John Dargle, who was appointed to lead the department in October 2018. Dargle oversaw the openings of Rodney Cook Sr. Park in Vine City and Westside Park, which is now Atlanta’s largest park with 280 acres of greenspace.

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“On behalf of Atlanta, I want to extend our most sincere gratitude to Commissioner Dargle for his leadership over the last several years,” Dickens said in a statement.

“Commissioner Dargle had a passion for our communities — most prominently exhibited when he oversaw a shift in his department’s operations during the pandemic to ensure Atlanta’s seniors and children had reliable access to healthy meals while other organizations had closed. He is a true public servant and I wish him only the best in his future endeavors.”

Dickens is still conducting a nationwide search for executives to lead the police department, Human Resources, City Planning, and transportation.