Kathryn Ott Lovell was appointed Commissioner of the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department by Mayor Jim Kenney in January 2016. As Commissioner, Kathryn oversees a team of 3,000 employees who steward 10,000 acres of land, 500 buildings, 225 miles of trail, 250 playgrounds, and who orchestrate thousands of programs and events throughout the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation (PPR) system.
PPR helps Philadelphia’s children and citizens grow by connecting them to the natural world, to each other, and to fun, physical and social opportunities. PPR fulfills this mission largely through its amenities, programs and services including after school programs and summer camps, and specialty programs focused on urban agriculture, visual and performing arts, environmental education and outdoor recreation, along with sports and athletics opportunities. In addition, PPR operates a food program that provides more than three million meals to children annually. PPR services also include ecosystem and urban forest management, historic preservation, event permitting, youth workforce development, and concessions. Additionally, PPR facilitates signature citywide events such as the Mummers Parade, the Broad Street Run, The Oval and the Dell Music Center.
PPR will experience a drastic transformation over the next six years thanks to Mayor Kenney’s REBUILD initiative, a $500 million public and private investment to transform hundreds of parks, recreation centers and libraries throughout Philadelphia.
Prior to her appointment as Commissioner, Kathryn served as the Executive Director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy, where she elevated the organization’s profile and ushered in a dramatic shift in its strategic vision, building a host of new programs, executing high-profile projects, and securing funding from an array of local and national funders. The Conservancy saw rapid expansion during her tenure, increasing its budget by more than 500% in her first four years and growing the staff from 3 to 24 members, all while maintaining a sustainable organizational structure, a growing but steady array of program services, and a diversified mix of incomes sources.
Kathryn also served as Chief Advancement Officer for the internationally renowned City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program for six years, during a time of significant growth for the organization.
In January 2012, Kathryn championed a successful campaign to save her alma mater, St. Hubert Catholic High School for Girls, from closure and currently serves on the board of the Friends of St. Hubert. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Please Touch Museum, Schuylkill River Development Corporation and St. Francis de Sales School.
Kathryn is a graduate of the University of Scranton. She lives in the Cedar Park section of West Philadelphia with her husband and two young daughters.