The City of Renton’s Parks Planning and Natural Resources Director, Leslie Betlach, was awarded the Washington Recreation and Parks Association’s Citation of Merit for a Professional. The award recognizes Betlach’s dedication to the protection of our environment and her efforts to ensure that parks and open spaces will be enjoyed by future generations. She develops and implements the Parks Capital Improvement Plan, oversees the Urban Forestry Program and recently worked with other departments and the community to complete the Parks, Recreation and Natural Areas Plan. At the state level she is involved in developing and implementing parks, Level of Service standards and standards for coordinating the acquisition of state habitat and recreation land.
Betlach has been a long-time advocate for the public benefits of parks and natural areas and has worked with other cities and the department of transportation to interconnect paved and soft surface trails, boardwalks, and water trails to create a non-motorized network for both recreational and commuting uses. Often working behind the scenes, . During her tenure she has applied for and received $10.5 million in grant funding for park and trail acquisition and development and overseen $13 million in capital improvement projects. Working in tandem with the city attorney, the city acquired 280 acres of land for active and passive parks, natural areas and wetlands that will be forever protected because of Betlach’s vision.
Betlach was recognized for this honor and her achievements by the Renton City Council on May 14.
*Editor's Note: Information provided by the City of Renton.