Rutland's Cindi Wight Named New Burlington Parks and Rec Director | Off Message

Rutland's Cindi Wight Named New Burlington Parks and Rec Director


  • Katie Jickling
  • Cindi Wight
The Rutland Recreation and Parks Department director is moving north to the Queen City.

Cindi Wight will take over as director of the Burlington Parks, Recreation & Waterfront department this fall, Mayor Miro Weinberger announced at a press conference Tuesday.

The city chose Wight because of her "deep experience in the field of parks and recreation," Weinberger said.

That's 24 years, to be precise. Wight's résumé includes time as a parks and rec director in the San Juan Islands of Washington State before she headed up the same department in Middlebury. She started in Rutland in 2013.

Wight will replace Jesse Bridges, who served for nearly five years* before stepping down in May to take a position at the United Way of Northwest Vermont.

The Burlington City Council is scheduled to vote on Wight's confirmation at its August 28 meeting. Pending that approval, she'll start in Burlington "by October 1," she said.

The Le Roy, N.Y., native said Tuesday that she's excited to begin. She must first wrap up her work in Rutland and relocate with her husband to Burlington.

Wight plans to meet with the department's leadership team as she gradually takes on tasks from interim director Nina Safavi.

The transition comes as the city rebuilds its bike path along Lake Champlain, develops a community center at St. Joseph School in the Old North End and expands its programming. For years, Burlington Parks & Rec struggled with financial difficulties and internal strife. Weinberger said those days are over — and Wight said she'd keep the department on course.

Wight promised to emphasize transparency in her work and said she would make an effort to get out from behind her desk. "I like to listen and go out in the community and be part of the community," she said.

Wight didn't initially submit an application when the position opened. Instead, someone recommended her for the role, said Councilor Dave Hartnett (D-North District), who took part in the selection process. "She was head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to leadership [and] fitting into the community," Hartnett said.

Wight was selected from a pool of 52 applicants as part of a nationwide search.

"I don't think we'll have any problem Monday night confirming Cindi," Hartnett said. "I think it's going to be a great partnership."

*Correction, August 23, 2017: A previous version of this story miscalculated Bridges' tenure at the department.

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