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March 7, 2014

Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation Director retires after 28 years of service to county residents

Callie Birdsall - Email
2001 South State Street, S4400

Michele Nekota, Director of Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation, has announced her retirement effective March 31, 2014. Nekota retires after 28 years of service with the county; she was named director of the Parks and Recreation division in 2009.

“Salt Lake County residents enjoy the best network of parks and recreational facilities in the entire state,” said Mayor Ben McAdams. “Michele’s work is a big part of why that’s the case. She devoted her career to making our Parks and Recreation division such a stand-out.”

Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation facilities and programs serve over 1.6 million county participants each year. “Thousands of people make use of county recreation facilities each day, working out, participating in a class, competing in a sports league, playing a round of golf or utilizing our childcare services,” said Erin Litvack, Director of Community Services for Salt Lake County. “Michele is a great leader that truly cared about her staff and the lives of county residents. She is a true professional and is greatly respected by her colleagues in the profession across the state and nation. She will be missed.”

Martin Jensen, Associate Department Director for Community Services, will serve as the acting director until a new director is named. Salt Lake County will conduct a nationwide recruitment for a replacement.

A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, Nekota grew up learning from her father, the late Tom Nekota, who was the director of Parks and Recreation for the City and County of Honolulu. “I guess you could say I have parks and recreation in my blood,” said Nekota. She played collegiate volleyball for Brigham Young University and was named the Senior Athlete of the Year in 1983. She played professional volleyball in the National Volleyball Association from 1995-1997. Nekota was the president of the Utah Recreation and Parks Association in 2009 and was their 2004 Outstanding Professional of the Year. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University with a B.S. in psychology and holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix-Salt Lake City.

For more information on Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation programs please visit In addition to managing 4,828 acres of open space and 23 miles of trails, Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation consists of 280 full-time and approximately 3,000 seasonal staff who oversee 18 swimming pools, 21 recreation centers, 6 golf courses, 3 ice centers, Wheeler Historic Farm, and 105 parks encompassing 7,983 acres within Salt Lake County.