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Home > Leadership > Mayor > Archived Press Releases > 2010 Archives > May 2010 > Mayor Brown Appoints New Deputy Commissioner Of Public Works

Mayor Brown Appoints New Deputy Commissioner Of Public Works

Contact: Peter K. Cutler

Buffalo Native Returns Home After Five Years as Brooklyn Director of Forestry in New York City Department of Parks & Recreation; Will Oversee City’s Parks, Recreation & Forestry

Mayor Byron W. Brown today announced the appointment of Andrew R. Rabb as Deputy Commissioner of Public Works, Parks & Streets with responsibility for Parks, Recreation and Forestry in the Buffalo city parks.

“Andy Rabb brings a wealth of experience to this position in our Department of Public Works and he has first-hand knowledge of the city’s parks having served as the city’s Forester from 2000 through 2004,” said Mayor Brown. “With the city’s parks now back under our control, I wanted to bring in someone with Andy’s professional and educational background to ensure that our management of the city’s parks is the best it can be. A certified arborist, I expect that he will draw on his past work in Buffalo’s parks system and more recently in the Olmsted-designed Prospect Park in Brooklyn to provide great insight and expertise in the day-to-day management and operations of our city parks.”

Rabb grew up in Buffalo and, after earning his degree in Forest Biology and Resource Management from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse, he began his career in public service in 2000 as a City Forester in Buffalo.  In 2005, he joined the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation as Brooklyn’s Director of Forestry and was based in the renowned Olmsted-designed Prospect Park.  In the last five years, he brought renewed energy and innovation to the division, honing his knowledge of Prospect Park and working in close collaboration with the Prospect Park Alliance, an organization dedicated to the restoration, support and beautification of the famed park. Among other duties, Rabb and his staff worked to ensure the care and growth of Brooklyn’s trees.

“I believe my experience in Buffalo and Brooklyn has afforded me the opportunity to directly address the many challenges commonly faced in urban areas with respect to maintaining healthy and safe street trees and parks,” said Rabb. “I have also had the pleasure over the past few years of working closely with landscape architects, playground designers, construction engineers and community groups as New York City embarked on the most ambitious parks capital improvement program since the 1930’s. I believe the primary task of a city’s Parks Department is to create and maintain a safe and clean environment for its children to play. Parks also serve as the city’s green heart and soul, allowing its citizens a chance to connect with the natural world and each other. Whether used for recreation or leisure, public events or solitary thoughts, parks are a fundamental component of any community.”

Following the 2006 October Surprise Storm, Rabb came back to Buffalo to assist in the citywide recovery effort, analyzing the impact of storm-related damage on the city’s urban forest both in city parks and throughout residential neighborhoods.

Rabb succeeds Susan M. Gonzalez who served as Deputy Commissioner of Parks at the end of December 2009. She will return to her previous position as Director of Recreation in the city’s Community Services Department since 2006, Executive Director of the Buffalo Police Athletic League and Special Events Coordinator for the city, where she oversees the coordination of such notable city special events as Taste of Buffalo, the Allentown Arts Festival and the Gus Macker basketball tournament in downtown.

In March of 2010, Rabb was honored with the Thomas Stofka Award.  Named for a former Brooklyn forester, it recognizes individuals who have dedicated themselves to New York City’s trees and natural areas. In 2001, he was awarded the Parks Department Recognition Award from the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy.