Overland Park announces new Parks + Recreation Director

Jermel Stevenson finds that the word “park” in Overland Park’s name is absolutely appropriate.

Stevenson will be the city’s new Director of Parks and Recreation beginning Monday, Oct. 5.

Prior to moving to Overland Park, Stevenson was the Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Corpus Christi, Texas.

He also worked in Garland, Texas, as the managing director of parks, recreation, cultural arts, and Convention and Visitors Bureau; and Rowlett, Texas, as the Director of Parks and Recreation.

His immersion into a municipal parks and recreation program began when he was a college intern in Warren, Mich. 

Stevenson brings experience from all facets of parks and recreation: He began as a playground instructor, then moved on to serve as a lifeguard, center supervisor, parks maintenance worker, day camp worker and supervisor, was involved with the senior program and held many other jobs, Stevenson said.

Stevenson is also active in the National Recreation and Park Association. He is an accreditation consultant for the National Recreation and Park Association and has been an adjunct professor in Parks and Recreation Management for Frostburg State University

“The whole city is a park. It is literally in the city’s name. Parks are everywhere. The Parks Master Plans is a 20-year road map and a commitment made by the City,” said Stevenson. “This is where I want to call home until I retire.”

Stevenson’s commitment extends beyond Overland Park’s 83 parks: he is looking forward to working with the Scheels Overland Park Soccer Complex, the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, and the Arts & Recreation Foundation of Overland Park, which supports the city’s cultural amenities.

“I am really looking forward to working with all those community and friends groups. Even with the pandemic the community still expects a high level of parks and services,” he said.

Overland Park’s Parks and Recreation Department administers recreational programs and services, including amenities listed above, two community centers, two public golf courses, the Overland Park Farmers’ Market, five outdoor pools and one indoor pool, maintains and improves the City’s 83 parks and miles of bike/hike trails, and coordinates several major annual events including the Star Spangled Spectacular and Fall Festival in addition to regular concerts and gatherings each year.