THE BRONX — The city has tapped 30-year Parks Department veteran Iris Rodriguez-Rosa to take over as Bronx Parks Commissioner after the controversial tenure of Hector Aponte, who retired in January.
Rodriguez-Rosa has worked as the former Bronx Recreation Chief and most recently served in Queens, where she oversaw the opening of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Aquatic Center and the Al Oerter Recreation Center, according to NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver.
Before coming to Queens in 2006, she had worked as Bronx Chief of Recreation starting in 1994, where she helped renovate and expand the St. James Recreation Center and convert all of the borough's recreation centers into multi-purpose facilities.
Rodriguez-Rosa, who lives in Ozone Park, is also a founder of the NYC Parks Latino Society and helped set up "friends of" groups for parks in Highbridge and East Harlem.
The previous borough commissioner's tenure was marked by several controversies.
These included the building of the new Yankee Stadium, which led to community complaints about loss of park space and fears that the construction would have negative health impacts, according to reports.
The department also painted over the work of children from a local youth group at Unity Park under Aponte's watch, although officials agreed to let the kids repaint it in the wake of outrage from the group.
Rodriguez-Rosa said in a statement that she was thrilled to take over as Bronx Parks Commissioner and cited projects like the opening of the High Bridge and renovations to St. Mary's Park as specific reasons for excitement.
"I am so happy to have the opportunity to lead the Parks Department in the Bronx," she said. "As a life-long New Yorker, parks have been an integral part of my life, and I am looking forward to further connecting Bronx communities to their open spaces."