By George Slaughter
Kevin Browne, the city’s parks and recreation director, began his new job Monday. He comes from Missouri City, where he had been recreation superintendent and, before that, recreation manager.
Previously, Browne worked with the City of Bellaire as a recreation specialist and supervisor. He earned his bachelor’s degree in recreation, park and tourism sciences at Texas A&M University. He earned his master’s degree kinesiology-sports management at Sam Houston State University.
1. How did you get involved in parks and recreation management?
I’m actually a second-generation parks and recreation professional—my father spent 35 years in municipal parks and recreation, so I spent my entire childhood involved with recreation programs, attending special events and park and amenity grand openings. At Texas A&M I got involved with campus recreation through intramural sports and decided to study recreation, park and tourism sciences. After a stint as a graduate assistant working in campus recreation at Sam Houston State University I decided to pursue a career in municipal recreation in the City of Bellaire and most recently with Missouri City.
2. What attracted you to Katy?
There are a number of things, obviously the recent bond election shows that the citizens of Katy are supportive of making improvements to the park system and developing new amenities to complement those in place that will provide added value to their quality of life. I think there’s a lot of potential opportunities in regards to recreation programming and I am looking forward to utilizing my experience and background to bring forth some new and different recreation programs to Katy. It’s a great fit at the right time, and I’m humbled and excited for the chance to develop and implement the vision for the future of parks and recreation in the city.
3. Katy voters recently approved a $4.2 million bond for city park improvements, including a hike and bike trail system, and the construction of a city parks administration building. How will you go about turning that mandate into reality?
In conjunction with the bond projects we will be developing a parks and recreation master plan, which will provide a comprehensive assessment of the department’s programs, parks and facilities and serve as the guideline for the park system infrastructure and programming for the next ten years. Developing the master plan alongside the bond projects will provide more opportunities for community engagement that will be utilized in the design process for the projects, and ensure that these new amenities meet the needs of the city and that they fit into the plans for future development projects.
4. Other than implementing the improvements provided for in the bond, what are your top three priorities as you take on this new role, and why?
The parks and recreation master plan will be the top priority because it will be the guiding document for the future of the department regarding infrastructure, programming and budgeting.
Second, developing a plan for implementing new recreation programming opportunities through community partnerships with local boards and commissions as well as state agencies like the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The department was instrumental in helping me develop and implement outdoor recreation programs in Missouri City and I think that we can utilize those resources to enhance recreational and educational opportunities in the city.
Finally, and certainly not least, there are some current park improvement projects underway that need to be completed, so that citizens can continue to enjoy safe and beautiful parks here in Katy.
5. Is there anything else Katy News readers should know as you begin your duties?
I’m excited to be here and looking forward to the opportunities ahead!