Monique Odom Named as Director of the Metro Parks Department
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (October 5, 2017) – The Metro Parks Board of Directors has named Monique Odom, currently serving as interim director, to be the director of the Metro Parks Department. The selection follows a cross-departmental review of applicants for the position, in which Odom scored highest among all applicants.
“Monique Odom has done a fantastic job as interim director of the Metro Parks Department following the departure of former director Tommy Lynch,” said Mayor Megan Barry. “I know that under her continued leadership, our Metro Parks will continue to be some of the finest in the nation as we expand and improve our network of parks, greenways, and recreational facilities for Nashvillians of all ages.”
Odom is a native Nashvillian who has been with Metro Government for over 15 years, 11 of which have been with the Parks and Recreation Department. Since joining Parks in 2006, Odom’s responsibilities have primarily focused on the department’s fiscal matters.
“It is such an honor to be named as Director of Metro Parks and to work with so many dedicated staff, volunteers, and residents who are passionate about preserving, protecting, and expanding our parks,” said Odom. “We have a lot of work to do and I look forward to working with the Mayor, the Parks Board, Council, and the residents of this city.”
Odom will now head one of the largest Parks Department in Tennessee - overseeing almost 16,000 acres of open space, which includes 185 parks, 85 miles of greenway, 7 municipal golf courses, 7 regional community centers, 19 neighborhood centers, 7 dog parks, 171 sports fields, 4 nature centers, and seven historical sites including The Parthenon and Fort Negley. In addition to her duties with the Parks Board, Odom will work with the Nashville Parks Foundation, and over a dozen officially designated Friends groups. She will also guide Plan to Play: the Parks and Greenways Master Plan, which sets out the vision for the Nashville Parks and Greenways system for the next ten years.
Park Board Chair, George Anderson said, “Monique’s knowledge, expertise, and experience is exactly what is needed for a booming city and a dynamic Parks Department. She is a collaborator and a bridge-builder – a great public servant with a deep commitment to the citizens, the department, and its employees. Her strong sense of fair play, coupled with her inclusive leadership style, will serve this city well. We are excited to have Monique Odom at the helm of the Parks Department and look forward to what we can accomplish for our residents.”
Monique holds a B.A. from Fisk University and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Tennessee State University’s College Institute of Government. Prior to her employment at Parks she served as the program coordinator for the Metro Human Relations Commission where she supervised all fiscal and administrative functions and oversaw the Commission’s programming efforts.
It is the mission of Metro Parks and Recreation to sustainably and equitably provide everyone in Nashville with an inviting network of parks and greenways that offer health, wellness and quality of life through recreation, conservation and community.
Nashville’s municipal park system was established in April of 1901. The first park in the system was Watkins Park. This was closely followed by the acquisition of Federal Park (grounds of the Customs House) and then Centennial park in 1902. In 1963 the first Metropolitan Board of Parks and Recreation was appointed in accordance with the Metro charter. The Metro Charter authorizes this board to employ a director of parks and to supervise, control, and operate the park and reservation system of the metropolitan government.