MONROE COUNTY — Monroe County has hired John Allen as the new Parks and Beaches director.

Allen is leaving his current management position that oversees 27 community centers, four art studios and two senior centers in Tampa to move to the Florida Keys. He has developed and implemented senior, teen, youth and anti-bullying programs, and created new special events. He holds a bachelor’s degree in health, leisure and sports from the University of West Florida.

“His background in staff training, internship and volunteer programs, creating partnerships and grant writing appear to be the perfect match of what we are looking for in this new position,” Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi said. “His passion and understanding of recreation will benefit our residents and visitors who enjoy our 22 parks and beaches across the county.”

The position was reopened in April 2021 after closing in early 2020 due to COVID-19 budget cuts. Employee Services received a total of 94 applications, with 39 qualified applicants for the role. The Parks and Beaches director is a new position.

Allen will be responsible for developing plans and programs for existing and future parks, coordinating recreational needs of the community, handling public inquiries regarding county parks and beaches, monitoring agreements with sports leagues and overseeing park maintenance and staff, among many other things.