Mayor's Office Press Release
Mayor Turner Appoints Interim Houston Parks and Recreation Department Director
December 3, 2020 -- Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the appointment Thursday of Kenneth Allen as the interim director of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department following the resignation of Parks Director Steve Wright.
Allen is a Houston native with 36 years of “hands on” professional experience in the Parks and Recreation field. A graduate of Madison High School and Indiana University, along with studies at Clemson University, he has worked in the Houston Parks and Recreation Department for 28 years -- with the last 11 serving as the Department’s Assistant Director/Recreation and Wellness. He oversaw a $20-million budget, managed adult sports programming, and HPARD’s ballfield permitting office. He also managed operations of City aquatic facilities, tennis centers, and golf courses. He has managed greenspace inventory, crew assignments, and projects, and maintained and managed parks in the City’s Central region.
“I am pleased to name Kenneth Allen as Interim Director of the Parks and Recreation Department while we conducti a national search. He has a wide range of skills and experience that I hope will continue to make the Houston Parks Department one of the best in the nation. He’s also a native Houstonian who’s very familiar with the value of neighborhood parks and what they mean to our communities. I look forward to working with him and look forward to more good things from the Parks Department to make the City proud.," said Mayor Turner.
Kenneth managed the Parks Department’s partnership with the Police Activities League (PAL) and has advocated for funding on Capitol Hill for the Parks Department’s acclaimed Soccer for Success program. And for several years, he hosted the U.S. Youth Games in Houston, as well as the Houston Corporate Games.
“I am proud to accept the interim appointoment and continue the good work of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department. I know what our parks mean to Houstonians and I will work hard every day to make sure our neighbors have parks and greenspaces they can point to with pride and enjoy with their families. I’m ready to get to work," said Allen.
Kenneth has proven experience in building community programs and facilities through partnerships, corporate sponsorships, and grants. He also has strong community ties – especially related to our neighborhood parks.
He is a member of the National Recreation and Parks Association. He also was a Big 10 Athlete of the Year Award winner in football at Indiana University and an Honorable Mention All-American at Indiana University in football.