Adrian Benepe, is a Senior Vice President and Director of National Programs for The Trust for Public Land, Adrian Benepe is one of the nation’s experts on the nexus of the public, private, and non-profit sectors in public space development and management. Born and raised in New York, Benepe worked for twenty-seven years in the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, serving as Park Commissioner for eleven years under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, prior to joining The Trust for Public Land. During that time he oversaw a major expansion of the city’s parks system, including restoring historic parks such as Central Park and Battery Park, adding 730 acres of new parkland including Hudson River Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the High Line, and laying the groundwork for an additional 2,000 acres of parks.
In his career, Benepe has worked in leadership roles on park and public space conservation, design, construction, and operation, and in the areas of city planning, arts and culture, historic preservation, and landscape and urban design. He also helped to create or empower several New York civic organizations, from Business Improvement Districts to park conservancies, including the Madison Square Conservancy, Jamaica Bay Conservancy, Historic House Trust of NYC, and Fort Tryon Park Trust.
Previously, Benepe served at NYC Parks as Director of Art and & Antiquities, Director of Natural Resources and & Horticulture, Operations Coordinator, Director of Public Information, and Urban Park Ranger. Benepe also served as Vice President for Issues and & Public Affairs at the Municipal Art Society and Director of the Annual Fund & Major Gifts for the New York Botanical Garden.
In addition to a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Middlebury College, Benepe holds a Master’s degree in Journalism from Columbia University, where he was awarded a Pulitzer Fellowship. In 1987, he participated in the Mayor’s Top 40 Program, and in 1992, he was selected to participate in Leadership New York, a program of the Coro Foundation.
At the 2020 Georgia Trail Summit, he will discuss how cities and counties use trails to drive economic development and quality of life.