Minneapolis Park Board nominates Alfred Bangoura as Superintendent

Superintendent candidate finalist Al Bangoura

At tonight’s meeting, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) commissioners voted to approve the nomination of Alfred Bangoura from Charlotte, North Carolina, as the next superintendent of the nationally acclaimed park system and authorized Board President Brad Bourn to negotiate a contract. Approval of Bangoura’s contract is tentatively scheduled for the December 19 board meeting. Park Board commissioners hope to have Bangoura aboard as soon as possible.

“We’re excited to welcome Mr. Bangoura back home to Minneapolis. After a nationwide search, bringing forward the best candidates in America, Al stood out as having the unique skills needed for our Superintendent. Al believes our parks are for everyone and he’s ready to advance this Board’s mandate of increasing our investment in youth and building an even better park system for our guests and everyone who calls Minneapolis their home,” said Brad Bourn, President of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. “His knowledge of Minneapolis and our parks coupled with his unique professional skills will provide cohesiveness and inspire collaboration.”

Bangoura is the Recreation Superintendent of Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, which includes Charlotte, NC and serves over 1.1 million people. Bangoura currently oversees community and recreation services for the county’s 17 recreation facilities and three senior and active adult facilities. Bangoura is currently leading the construction and program development of the county’s first 100,000 sq. ft recreation facility. He is a Certified Park and Recreational Professional (CPRP) and has a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism. Prior to joining Mecklenburg County, Bangoura served as the Director of Recreation Centers and Programs for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. From 2001 – 2015, Bangoura held a variety of progressive recreation leadership positions with the MPRB.

Commissioners thanked all of the candidates who applied and those selected as finalists. President Bourn and other commissioners also praised Superintendent Emeritus Mary Merrill for her service and many accomplishments during this critical time of transition. Under Merrill’s leadership, a new community-led Juneteenth celebration was held, ordinances on spitting and lurking were repealed, agreements with Graco were settled, and her 2019 recommended budget was supported by the Mayor and the Board of Estimate and Taxation and included a down payment for investing in Minneapolis youth. Under her watch, several significant projects were completed, including the Phillips Community Center, Wirth Trailhead, and improvements to Peavey Park and Central Gym.

Superintendent Hiring Process

The MPRB Superintendent provides day-to-day leadership for the 6,811 acre nationally recognized park system. The Superintendent manages an annual operating and capital budget of $120 million and oversees the work of approximately 570 full-time and 1,170 temporary Minneapolis Parks employees who deliver programs, services and facilities that are responsive to the diverse needs of City residents and all segments of the community.

The search for a superintendent marked the first time in the MPRB’s 135-year history that community engagement played a strong role in determining the next superintendent. In May, the Board selected local recruiting firm KP Companies to lead the search for a new leader of the park system. From July through August, more than 22 listening sessions were held with community members, employees and other MPRB stakeholders to learn what qualities they sought in a Superintendent. In October, a community selection committee used information gathered during listening sessions to establish relevant criteria and prioritize candidates. In early November an internal team comprised of President Bourn, Vice President AK Hassan and Commissioner Latrisha Vetaw narrowed the list to the top three finalists. The Board interviewed two candidates on November 13; one candidate respectfully withdrew November 12 explaining his commitment to follow through on an important citywide youth initiative underway.

Former MPRB Superintendent Jayne Miller resigned from the Park Board in February 2018 to take a position leading a public-private parks conservancy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Superintendent Emeritus Mary Merrill was unanimously selected by the Board to fulfill Miller’s contract and to assist in the search process for the next superintendent.