Greenway Conservancy Names Chris Cook Executive Director
April 2, 2021 — The Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, a Boston nonprofit that manages the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston, on Wednesday announced it named Chris Cook as its next executive director.
Cook, who will assume his new post in May, succeeds Jesse Brackenbury, who led the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy since 2013 and will step down later this month to become president and CEO of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation in New York.
Doug Husid, board chair of the Greenway Conservancy, said, “Chris’ deep local experience in open space, parks, and community engagement is a tremendous asset for both the Conservancy’s and The Greenway’s next chapter. We are delighted to have Chris at the helm as we emerge from the pandemic and continue to strengthen our community connections, world-class horticulture, and remarkable art programs that are the hallmarks of The Greenway.”
“The Greenway represents one of the greatest transformations of urban space in American history,” said Cook. “I am honored to join the Conservancy to continue to contribute to and expand on The Greenway’s success and thrilled by the opportunity to focus deeply on such an important public park and resource.”
Cook has extensive experience working in parks throughout Boston, including as past commissioner of the City’s Parks and Recreation Department and currently as chief of environment, energy, and open space for the city.
In his time as commissioner, Cook worked on initiatives to make Boston’s open spaces more equitable and accessible. When serving as director of the previous Mayor’s Office of Arts, Tourism, & Special Events, Cook helped advance cultural tourism and growth of the cultural community.
"Chris has been a steward of Boston's parks throughout his career, and there's no one more dedicated to making sure our city's open spaces are inviting and inclusive for all to enjoy," said Mayor Kim Janey. "While we'll miss his leadership at City Hall, I have no doubt he'll bring the same passion, creativity, and collaborative spirit to charting the future of the iconic Rose Kennedy Greenway.”
Cook began working for the City of Boston in 2006 as program coordinator for the school system.
The Conservancy said Cook joins the organization “at an interesting inflection point for the future of what cities can be,” noting that the Greenway “played an important role as an essential respite and gathering space in 2020, and will begin the 2021 season celebrating joy, resiliency, and vibrancy in Boston and the Commonwealth.”
Cook earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and theater from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and a Master of Public Administration degree from Suffolk University.
The Greenway Conservancy was established as a nonprofit organization in 2004 to guide the emerging park’s development, following completion of the Central Artery/Tunnel Project, known as the “Big Dig,” and raise funds for an endowment and park operations. In 2018, the Greenway Conservancy, the state, City of Boston, and property owners abutting The Greenway created a business improvement district to support the Greenway Conservancy’s care of the park. The majority of the public park’s annual budget is generously provided by private sources.
For the year ending Dec. 31, 2018, the Greenway Conservancy reported $6.28 million in revenue, of which $3.62 million came from contributions and grants, and $5.34 million in expenses, according to its most recently available federal tax filing.