Michele Newman



Name and Title
Michele Newman, Director of Jackson County Parks + Rec Dept.
Number of years with Jackson County Parks + Rec

  1. Overall responsibilities
    • I am responsible for the overall operation of the 3rd Largest County Park system in the nation, administering a $14 million annual budget, encompassing both a Park Operations Tax component and a $6 million Enterprise Operations component.
    • 15 parks totaling 21,000 acres.
    • Recreational facilities that include three major lakes, marinas, modern campgrounds, picnic shelters, 27-hole championship golf course, athletic complexes, beaches and historic sites.
    • Serving a population of 1.4 million annually.
    • Ensuring effectiveness of a full-time staff of more than 140 Associates; 185 seasonal associates and over 500 volunteers.


  2. What is your fondest memory working with the Parks Department?

    One of my fondest and proudest memories is in September of 1988, when Jackson County Parks & Recreation Associates were given the challenge to create, design and construct a holiday wonderland that would benefit both the community and local charities. I immediately began meeting with local television stations to secure a media partner, as well as brainstorming with staff to design what would later be known as Christmas In The Park. Longview Lake Campground was chosen as the event site and we all began working fervently to have the project completed by November 27.  In less than three months, Park associates had designed a lighted display that had exceeded all expectation. Christmas In The Park opened with a line of cars that stretched as far as the eye could see. Today, 33 years later, Christmas In The Park welcomes over 200,000 visitors annually and has donated over $1 million to local charities. WAY TO GO PARKS + REC!


  3. Why have you stayed with the department for 37 years?

    This is the greatest job ever!  I get to come to Parks + Rec every day, work in a beautiful setting with an outstanding team of professionals … with the main purpose of making people HAPPY. It doesn’t get any better than that!


  4. What role does Jackson County Parks + Rec department play in making the community stronger, more vibrant and more resilient?

    Parks are essential to a healthy community. It is important that Jackson County Parks + Rec makes sure that all people have access to our parks, lakes and outdoor programming. Our motto is Make You Day Here, always with the expectation of providing the best quality of life experiences possible. 

    Our Parks connect communities through our more than 150 miles of trail. They promote community wellness by getting people outdoors and exercising, as well as providing beautiful green spaces enriching mental health. 

    Parks + Rec’s playgrounds provide safe places for kids to play and build social interaction.

    Our lakes, campgrounds, golf course, sports complexes, historic sites and Special Populations activities provide destinations for so many fun-filled recreational opportunities.

    In addition to the many recreational and environmental benefits, Parks create an economic benefit for both governments and individuals. Proximity to Parks increases property value, thereby increasing property tax revenue. Parks are always at the top of families lists when looking to relocate.

    I invite you all to enjoy the many benefits of your Jackson County Parks and let us Make Your Day!