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Kyle Lancaster Named Carlsbad Parks and Recreation Director

Carlsbad CA— Longtime parks professional Kyle Lancaster has been named the City of Carlsbad’s next Parks & Recreation Department director, bringing more than three decades of experience to the role, including the last 15 in Carlsbad.

“Kyle has proven himself as an effective leader who has an unparalleled commitment to quality service and inspires his team to consistently deliver on behalf of our community,” said Gary Barberio, the city’s deputy city manager for community services, who oversees the Parks & Recreation Department. “Under Kyle’s direction, the city’s parks, recreation programs, open space and trails could not be in better hands.”

When gathering input on the city budget earlier this year, the city’s parks and recreation offerings were cited as one of the community’s top priorities. As a full-service city, Carlsbad offers a wide array of parks and recreation programs, services and events, including:

  • 25 parks overall, plus picnic areas and other special use areas
  • 4 community centers
  • A senior center
  • 2 aquatic centers
  • 2 dog parks
  • 2 skate parks
  • 3 community gardens
  • 2 historic sites
  • 9,500 acres of open space
  • 65+ miles of trails
  • Hundreds of classes, camps and special events

The Parks & Recreation Department also oversees the city’s urban forest and handles landscaping for streetscapes, street medians and city facilities.

Lancaster previously served as the City of Carlsbad’s parks services manager, overseeing all aspects of the city’s parks, facilities, trails and open space. As part of the department’s leadership team, he was also responsible for collaborating on department policies and operations, including recreation programs, special events, sports leagues, multigenerational programs, camps and classes.

Among Lancaster’s recent accomplishments is the Pine Avenue Community Center and Gardens Project, which includes a unique eco-friendly multi-generational center. The project also transformed a former vacant lot into an ornamental garden and community garden area, in the heart of Carlsbad’s historic barrio neighborhood. The project, which was completed on time and within budget, was recently recognized with awards from the American Public Works Association and the American Society of Civic Engineers

Lancaster has also played a key role in coordinating beach and lagoon activities with state and federal agency liaisons and oversaw a recent project that dramatically improved beach access along Ocean Street in northern Carlsbad.

In 2014, he helped lead the city’s Parks & Recreation Department team to secure national accreditation. Carlsbad is one of only five cities in California and 142 in the nation to earn this distinction.

Lancaster joined the City of Carlsbad as the parks superintendent. He has served as the interim Parks & Recreation director since May, when former Director Chris Hazeltine left to become Poway’s city manager. Other experience includes working for the City of Santa Clarita as a parks and recreation project development coordinator and a senior code enforcement officer.

Lancaster earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology-criminology and business, with post-graduate studies in landscape design and construction. He earned a Parks & Recreation Professional Certificate from the National Recreation & Parks Society and a Pacific Southwest Maintenance Management Certificate from the California Parks & Recreation Society.

Active in his industry, Lancaster is a member of:

  • National Recreation & Parks Association
  • California Parks & Recreation Association
  • Maintenance Superintendent Association
  • American Shore & Beach Preservation Association

Other recent recognition includes:

  • Carlsbad Leo Carrillo Ranch Stable Restoration and Restrooms Project, APWA Design Excellence Award
  • Carlsbad Alga Norte Community Park and Aquatic Center, CPRS Park Design of the Year Award

A Carlsbad resident, Lancaster can often be found working alongside volunteers at city trail events on the weekends and enjoying an after-work trail run alongside his dog, Bella.