As Director of Miami Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department, Maria Nardi is responsible for the operation of one of the nation’s most diverse and largest park systems, with 2,300 employees, a $284 million budget and a $500+ million Capital Planning and Development Program. She oversees a system that includes 275+ parks and over 40,000 acres of park land, as well as protected, environmentally sensitive properties, serving 2.8 million residents area-wide, of which approximately 1.4 million residents are in the unincorporated local service area.
Director Nardi oversees implementation of the Miami-Dade County Parks and Open Space Master Plan, a vision born from engaging the community through an extensive public engagement process. The result is a Master Plan to transform Miami Dade into a more economically, socially, and environmentally vibrant community through a system of parks, public spaces, natural and historic areas connected by greenways/blueways and complete streets designed as linear parks. Her work includes the role of parks and public spaces in shaping cities; the emerging evidence-based science of health and the built environment; and the creation of equitable, resilient communities through parks and public space. Director Nardi has led the department through the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and other natural disasters, during the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the ongoing role of parks as essential health and resiliency infrastructure. She leads the South Florida Parks Coalition, which convenes 35 municipalities, with county, state, and federal park agencies to implement the Master Plan’s vision.
Maria Nardi Co-Chairs the Board of Directors of City Parks Alliance, the only independent, nationwide membership organization solely dedicated to urban parks, is an invited member of the Florida Sterling Council Board of Directors, the International Women’s Forum, and the National Recreation and Park Association Committee, among other Board memberships.