Parks and Recreation

The Department of Parks and Recreation is a 2019 National Recreation and Parks Association Gold Medal Finalist agency that has held a Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies department accreditation since 2017. Our team of staff work unendingly to achieve our mission of positively impacting the lives of the community we serve.

This is accomplished by enriching the quality of life for residents by providing choices and opportunities to recreate, along with developing and operating a full spectrum of recreational services for youth, adults, and special populations, while ensuring the management and maintenance of the city's parks, playgrounds, beaches, urban forestry, and city-owned cemeteries.

The Department of Parks & Recreation consists of four bureaus:

The Bureau of Planning and Administration is comprised of two divisions: Business Services and Technology Support. The bureau provides accounting, budgeting, communications and marketing; human resource and financial guidance; services and compliance; policy development and monitoring; youth development; Norfolk Emerging Leader (NEL) and NEL Executive Internship programs; and oversight of the NRPA/CAPRA Accreditation process.

The Bureau of Recreation and Human Development is comprised of three divisions: Aquatics and Water Activities, Athletics and Special Services, and Recreation and Leisure Activities. The bureau operates the city's recreation centers and provides opportunities for instructional classes and citywide athletics to include aquatic instructional programs and open swimming, league and open play, senior activities, and therapeutic programs. The bureau also focuses on providing strategic direction, comprehensive recreational programs, and activities for the city's youth, adults, seniors, and special populations. Youth programming is accomplished by overseeing elementary, middle, and high school youth programming, such as before and after school programs and summer camps.

The Bureau of Parks and Urban Forestry and Landscape Design is comprised of three divisions: Urban Forestry, Open Space Planning and Development, and Park Maintenance. The bureau is responsible for management and maintenance of the city's urban canopy consisting of street trees, trees on public property, over 25,000 acres of open space, and the city nursery. The bureau provides grounds maintenance services for all parks, public buildings, roadway medians, public schools, athletic fields, and city parcels. Additionally, the bureau maintains and manages seven miles of public beaches and provides landscape architecture and development for city projects as well as review of private landscape projects.

The Bureau of Cemeteries works closely with the Bureau of Parks and Urban Forestry to operate and maintain the eight city-owned cemetery locations throughout the city. The activities of Cemeteries are presented in the Special Revenue Fund section.

The Team

PROS Consulting

Since the firm was established in 1995, PROS has completed more than 900 projects in over 47 states and numerous projects internationally in six countries.

Management consulting and planning services offered by PROS span the full spectrum of planning needs for public agencies, and are grouped into the following practice areas:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Master Planning
  • Operations, Maintenance and Organizational Development
  • Financial Planning and Management
  • Feasibility Studies and Business Planning
  • Marketing and Branding
  • Web Design and Development
  • Customer Service Training

The project will be led by Neelay Bhatt and supported by Jason Elissalde from the PROS Team.

Perez Planning + Design

One of the leading parks and recreation system master planning firms in the United States.

ETC Institute

Helps local governmental organizations gather data from residents to enhance community planning.


LPDA is a landscape architecture and planning firm providing services since 1971. We design places for people. LPDA’s work includes a variety of design and development efforts which are focused on improving the quality of life, environment and the economics of our communities. LPDA serves Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic region with offices in Charlottesville and Sterling, Virginia.