Mayor Andre Dickens has appointed Justin Cutler to serve as the City of Atlanta’s Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Commissioner. DPR is tasked with the development, operation, and maintenance of the City’s public parks, recreation centers and facilities, with a commitment to building strong communities and a vibrant economy through safe and exceptional parks, facilities and programs.
“Justin is a parks pro who shares our vision of the role that parks and recreation plays in creating a more equitable city”,” said Mayor Dickens. “As a result of Atlanta voters approving this year’s bond referenda, he will oversee the implementation of more than $100 million in funds for parks and recreation expansion and improvements, in addition to significant DPR investments from the FY23 budget. Our Administration looks forward to Justin joining our team and push Atlanta to the top of the list of cities with exceptional parks and greenspaces.”
Cutler is a Certified Parks & Recreation Executive (CPRE) by the National Recreation & Parks Association (NRPA) with over 20 years of experience. Prior to joining the City of Atlanta, Cutler has served as the Director of Recreation Services for the City of Seattle. During his time in Seattle, Cutler worked to improve parks and recreation opportunities for historically underserved communities through partnerships with community and non-profit organizations.
“Atlanta is a city on the move, and after meeting with Mayor Dickens and his team, I could not be more thrilled to join Atlantans in building an equitable parks and recreation system that serves all our neighbors and communities,” said Cutler.
Driven by a passion for parks and recreation, Cutler has been involved with a number of professional associations, boards and commissions—including think-tank GPRED, Colorado Parks and Recreation Association and the Oregon Recreation and Parks Association.
Originally from Issaquah, Washington, Cutler received a Bachelor of Arts in Recreation and Leisure Studies from Washington State University. He then moved to Portland, Oregon after college and began his career in parks and recreation with the City of Wilsonville. While working in the Metro Portland region, Cutler obtained a Master’s in Public Administration from Portland State University Hatfield School of Government.
Cutler will fill the role currently held by Commissioner John Dargle, who was first appointed to lead DPR in October of 2018. During his tenure, Dargle oversaw the openings of Cook Park and Westside Park—now Atlanta’s largest park with 280 acres of greenspace.
“On behalf of Atlanta, I want to extend our most sincere gratitude to Commissioner Dargle for his leadership over the last several years,” continued Mayor Dickens. “Commissioner Dargle had a passion for our communities—most prominently exhibited when he oversaw a shift in his department’s operations during the pandemic to ensure Atlanta’s seniors and children had reliable access to healthy meals while other organizations had closed. He is a true public servant and I wish him only the best in his future endeavors.”
Cutler’s appointment is effective August 1, 2022.