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June 21, 2016

Fairmount Park Conservancy taps new executive director

Parks Development
Cherry Blossoms Fairmount Par Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Cherry blossoms in bloom at Fairmount Park.

Fairmount Park Conservancy announced Tuesday morning that Rick Magder, formerly the founder and executive director of Groundwork Hudson Valley in Yonkers, New York, will lead the conservancy as executive director.

The role was left vacant when Mayor Jim Kenney hired away Kathryn Ott Lovell to become commissioner of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. Fairmount Park Conservancy is responsible for implementing park programming and projects in Fairmount Park and more than 100 community parks throughout the city.

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Though Magder was also executive director of the national arm of community-development organization Groundwork USA, where he helped establish the EPA's Urban Waters initiative, he's perhaps best known for the Science Barge project as part of Hudson Valley's Groundwork, where he helped to acquire a greenhouse that floats on the Yonkers waterfront, using sun panels, wind turbines and biofuels to power itself. It's a showcase of sustainable food production, growing lettuce, tomatoes, melons and more.

Magder has a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Michigan and a master's degree from Columbia University with a concentration in urban policy. He received the Conservation Hero award in 2014 from the National Park Service. 

Fairmount Park Conservancy has invested more than $20 million in the Philadelphia park system since it was established in 2001. Projects in recent years include a reimagining of the east and west sides of Fairmount Park, capital improvements to Penn Treaty Park and enhancements to the Belmont Plateau trail. Wagner will likely become a crucial partner to Mayor Kenney who says city park improvements will be a focus of his administration. 

Magder will begin his role with the Fairmount Park Conservancy on Sept. 1.


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