Director of Parks and Recreation to Leave City to Join Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

PITTSBURGH, PA (October 8, 2021) Mayor William Peduto announced today that Ross Chapman, the Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation (Citiparks), will be leaving his role with the City.  

“Ross Chapman is a passionate, caring and effective leader who uses data, equity and residents’ personal experiences to thoughtfully inform decisions,” said Mayor Peduto. “The Citiparks team has been incredibly effective in adapting to the post-pandemic world because of his leadership of being open to new ideas, new possibilities and effective solutions. He has reinforced that public park programming is important because it is for all. I wish him the very best in his new role with our partners at the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, where I know he will continue to advocate for quality, equitable public opportunities.”   

Director Chapman started working for the City of Pittsburgh in 2010 in the Department of Human Resources and Civil Service as a Program Supervisor then Assistant Director, where he focused on workforce development partnerships, including Learn and Earn Summer Youth Employment Program and workforce services for city youth to engage in job skills training. He also led collaboration with the City’s Neighborhood Employment Center to provide employment services to residents.  

Mayor Peduto promoted Director Chapman to Deputy Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation in 2017 and Director in 2018. Under his leadership, Citiparks’ staff, programs, services, operations and projects have flourished and provided service to over 100,000 residents annually. Just a few of his countless accomplishments include:  

  • Distributed over 1 million free meals to eligible children and seniors since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic  
  • Offered virtual and home-based technology, education, art and enrichment programs and activities for children and families during the COVID-19 pandemic, including Citiparks’ own YouTube channel 
  • Launched and expanded the Rec2Tech program for city youth to learn critical technology skills, capturing nearly $700K in grant funding and securing mobile laptops and related tech equipment for Rec2Tech coding, AI, STEM/STEAM and more youth tech programs  
  • Managed over $10 million across operating, capital and trust fund supported budgets and worked with the Department of Public Works to deliver large-scale investments in senior and recreation centers, parks, spray parks and swimming pools, including: 
    • New $1.2 million Paulson Spray Park and Playground in Lincoln-Lemington 
    • New Morningside Healthy Active Living (Senior) Center in partnership with CMS Housing/Rodriguez Associates Inc.  
    • Upgraded WiFi connectivity at over a dozen community recreation and senior centers   
    • Pickleball and basketball courts citywide  
    • Secured over $250,000 in state and county grant funding to support senior centers and related programs  
  • Created partnerships with over 25 organizations throughout the city to engage youth, seniors and other residents in wellness, art, cultural, physical activity, recreation, education and more programs 
  • Welcomed and introduced United States Vice President Kamala Harris at the Brookline Recreation Center in support of the Federal Government's expanded Childcare Tax Credit program 

Director Chapman also advocated for increased funding for the ongoing improvement of community recreation centers, senior centers, swimming pools and other Citiparks programmed assets, which will see a projected $16 million in funding in 2022.  

Director Chapman will be leaving to serve as the Director of Park Operations and Civic Partnerships with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. The position is newly created to support the mission, vision and overall advancement of the nonprofit's work. This role provides strategic leadership on all matters related to creating an excellent, equitable, and inclusive park system, which is a critical component to the Conservancy's future work and the betterment of Pittsburgh's cherished parks. 

His final day with the City will be on November 1, 2021.  


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Molly Onufer
Communications Director
Mayor's Office