Santa Cruz County Parks & Recreation Commission
The Commission meetings are scheduled at least quarterly on a Monday, 7:00 PM at the Simpkins Family Swim Center/ Parks Department Offices, located at 979 17th Avenue, Santa Cruz, California, or, from time to time at an alternate location specified in the public notice. The Commission may call for special public meetings in order to timely conduct Commission business.
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Parks & Recreation Commission Members
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Mariah is an educator and artist raising her children in the heart of Live Oak. She spent 12 years working throughout the South Bay and Central Coast counties as an Education Consultant designing, building and implementing unique play spaces for children with developmental and medical needs. More recently, she is partnered with Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Santa Cruz City Arts and Live Oak School District to create public art installations that maximize participation and celebrate community. Mariah got her BA at Pomona College and her MA at San Francisco State University. She is interested equally in well-designed public processes and well-designed results for the public.
Katharine P. Minott has been a long-time Parks, Recreation and Open Space activist in the Aptos community and has served on the County Parks Commission since 2000, when Supervisor Ellen Pirie appointed her. Kate earned her B.A in Psychology from UCSC and holds a Masters Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from San José State University. She is also an alumna of Leadership Santa Cruz, Class 2006. Kate is a land-use system researcher. She has traveled extensively, researching historic and contemporary urban and recreational park designs. Kate’s research reports range from why the public input process works better with the inclusion of teens in neighborhood-park planning, to investigating the mysterious causes of disabling neurological diseases in certain communities. Kate has also written about the rationale for special types of interior styles and colors for people with Alzheimer’s in assisted living facilities. Kate is a strong advocate for safe and legal skateboard and mountain bike jump sites within Santa Cruz County Parks. In partnership with a local developer, Kate initiated the approval for a temporary mountain bike jump site within Aptos Village. Kate is a member of the National Recreational Parks Association, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and the American Planning Association (APA). In past years, Kate has served on the Board of Directors for the Aptos Neighbors Association, Janus Services as well as the Seacliff Improvement Association.
Maggie Duncan-Merrell is a lifelong resident of Santa Cruz and currently resides with her husband and daughter on the Westside. Maggie is a Landscape Designer, specializing in sustainable, drought tolerant gardens that focus on functional landscapes with edible plantings as well as selections that attract and feed birds, bees and butterflies. Maggie graduated from SLV High, Cabrillo College and UC Santa Cruz. Maggie has served on the Santa Cruz City Parks and Recreation Commission, sat on the Board of The Friends of the Parks and Rec and as a dog owner is a daily user of our parks.
Maggie’s daughter enjoyed 10 years as a City Junior Lifeguard and her entire family has relied on City recreational programs for decades for child care as well as personal fulfillment. Duncan-Merrell is dedicated to ensuring that Santa Cruz’s recreational programs are affordable and accessible to our community and advocates for maintaining safe, clean and fully functioning parks and beaches for all.
Steven Bennett is a lifelong resident of Santa Cruz County. He was raised in the Live Oak area and is now living in Watsonville with his wife and two children. He has a personal interest in helping keep County parks and recreation operating and expanding to serve the greater public. Mr. Bennett has been working on the environmental clean up of the former Fort Ord site for the past 23 years. He has served in multiple construction capacities on the Army Corps many sites, including but not limited to Foreman of construction crews, Contract Quality Control, and Coordinator of water supply for Prescribed Burns. In addition to this, he currently serves on the Santa Cruz County Hazardous Material Advisory Commission, the Pajaro Valley Little League Board of Directors, and is Committe Chair for BSA troop 599 in Corralitos.
Jim has lived in the San Lorenzo Valley for over 40 years. He worked for the Santa Cruz County Probation Department for over 28 years and retired as the Juvenile Hall Superintendent. Jim has also worked as the Executive Director for Community Options – a non-profit court referral agency which helps manage court ordered community service. He has served on the San Lorenzo Valley Water District Board, Santa Cruz LAFCO, and Santa Cruz County Board of Education. In his free time, Jim enjoys spending time with his family and grandchildren.