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The Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy last week announced the selection of Chris Cook as its next executive director.

“Chris’s deep local experience in open space, parks, and community engagement is a tremendous asset for both the conservancy’s and the Greenway’s next chapter,” says Doug Husid, chair of the Greenway Conservancy Board. “We are delighted to have Chris at the helm as we emerge from the pandemic and continue to strengthen our community connections, world-class horticulture, and remarkable art programs.”

The Greenway is a park like no other. It is a contemporary public park that has transformed downtown Boston and delivered on the promise of the Big Dig to create a vibrant green space that is filled with thought-provoking experiences and connections.

The nonprofit Greenway Conservancy has sole responsibility for managing all aspects of the Greenway and utilizes that responsibility to create year-round beauty, robust and inclusive programming, and artistic experimentation. Cook is a local expert with deep community connections who can hit the ground running; under his leadership, the Conservancy is well-positioned to engage with and lift up the diverse communities across Boston and the Commonwealth. The Greenway epitomizes the future of our cities and the ongoing importance of public parks to a thriving urban landscape.

“The Greenway represents one of the greatest transformations of urban space in American history,” said Cook. “I am honored to join the Conservancy to continue to contribute to and expand on the Greenway’s success and thrilled by the opportunity to focus deeply on such an important public park and resource.”

Cook brings extensive experience working in parks throughout Boston, as the past commissioner of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and current Chief of Environment, Energy & Open Space for the City. He has spent his career working to strategically position open spaces to foster community, adapt to climate change, and promote public health and wellness.

In his time as commissioner, Cook worked on initiatives to make Boston’s open spaces more equitable and accessible. As the former Director of the previous Mayor’s Office of Arts, Tourism, & Special Events, Cook also played a key role in advancing cultural tourism and fostering the growth of the cultural community.

Cook will begin in May 2021, succeeding Jesse Brackenbury, who has been named President and CEO of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation in New York. Cook is looking forward to working with MassDOT Acting Secretary Jamey Tesler, Mayor Kim Janey, the abutters who comprise the Greenway Business Improvement District (BID), the conservancy’s partners in local and state government, and the adjacent neighborhoods throughout Boston.