Palm Coast metropolis supervisor appoints new director of Parks and Recreation


Palm Coast City manager Denise Bevan announced that she has appointed James Hirst as the new director of the Department of Parks and Recreation.

Hirst joined the City of Palm Coast as Aquatics Supervisor in June 2014 and rose through the ranks until being promoted to Outdoor Recreation Manager in September 2018. As Outdoor Recreation Manager, Hirst managed and oversaw the Palm Coast Aquatic Center, 14 City Parks, 130 miles of outdoor trails, two dog parks, the Tennis Center and 23 City Athletic Fields.

Hirst has already demonstrated strong leadership overseeing 3 supervisors, 23 full-time park maintenance staff and 18 seasonal and part-time staff. He was instrumental in creating a department-wide contingency plan and a 10-year capital improvement plan.

“James is not only a strong advocate for sports and recreation in our city, he is a team player and mentor to each of his employees,” said City Manager Denise Bevan. “His passion for this community and vision for the future made him a great candidate for the position of Parks and Rec Director. James and his team will take our already valued parks and incredibly successful programs to the next level.”

Hirst plans to focus on his employees in his first 120 days as director. “My primary goal is to continue to build on the department’s accomplishments, but also to communicate my leadership philosophy as we continue to grow and create more opportunities for our residents,” said Hirst. “My goals for the next 120 days will be focused on promoting staff development, continuing to create lifelong experiences for our residents, and creating a positive and exciting work environment.”

Hirst holds a bachelor’s degree in sports management from the University of Akron in Ohio. He is certified by the American Red Cross as a Lifeguard Instructor, Water Safety Instructor, Aquatic Facility Operator, and CPR/AED/First Aid Instructor. He is also certified as a US Masters Level 2 Swim Coach.

Hirst grew up in Maclean, Australia but has lived in Palm Coast since 2014. He is married and has 2 cats and 1 dog. In his spare time he enjoys surfing and playing darts.

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