After 16 years leading Metro Parks Tacoma, Executive Director Jack C. Wilson has announced his intention to retire by September.

Wilson came to Metro Parks in 1999 from Cincinnati, Ohio, to lead the independent park district. He is responsible for the district’s senior administration and management of its 270 career employees and 750 seasonal or part-time employees.

A year after his arrival, voters approved a sales tax that helped secure sustainable revenue to support maintenance and operations of the district’s accredited Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Wilson then guided staff through a collaborative community process to develop the District’s first long-range strategic plan.

“I’ve been both humbled and inspired to work in a community that had the foresight to establish a special park district which ensured that high quality parks and open space would be here for their children and generations to come,” Wilson said.

The community passed bond measures in 2005 and 2014 for a cumulative total of over $280 million for infrastructure and capital improvements, plus tens of millions in supporting grants and donations.