Palm Coast City Manager Denise Bevan announced that she has appointed James Hirst as the new Director of the Parks and Recreation Department.

Hirst joined the City of Palm Coast in June of 2014 as an Aquatics Supervisor and has risen through the ranks, achieving Outdoor Recreation Manager in September of 2018. As Outdoor Recreation Manager, Hirst managed and oversaw the Palm Coast Aquatic Center, 14 City Parks, 130 miles of outdoor trails, two dog parks, the Tennis Center and 23 City Athletic fields.

Hirst has already demonstrated strong leadership skills in overseeing 3 supervisors, 23 full-time parks maintenance staff, and 18 seasonal and part-time workers. He was an integral part of the creation of a department-wide emergency action plan and a 10-year capital improvement plan.

“James is not only a strong advocate for sporting activities and recreational options in our City, but he is a team-player and mentor to each member of his staff," said City Manager Denise Bevan. "His passion for this community and his vision for the future made him a great candidate for the position of Parks and Rec Director. James and his team will take our already treasured parks and incredibly successful programs to the next level.”

Hirst plans to put his focus on his staff for his first 120 days as Director. “My primary objective is to continue to build upon the successes of the department, but also to instill my leadership philosophy as we continue to grow and create more opportunities for our residents,” Hirst said. “My goals for the next 120 days will be concentrate on fostering staff development, continue creating lifelong experiences for our residents, and enhance a positive and exciting work environment.”

Hirst holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management from the University of Akron in Ohio. He is certified as a lifeguard instructor, a water safety instructor, Aquatic Facility Operator, and a CPR/AED/First-Aid instructor by the American Red Cross. He is also certified as a U.S. Masters Level 2 Swim Coach.

Hirst grew up in Maclean, Australia, but has been a resident of Palm Coast since 2014. He is married and has 2 cats and 1 dog. In his free time, he enjoys surfing and darts.

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