GREENSBORO, N.C. – Greensboro Downtown Parks, Inc. (GDPI), the newly formed nonprofit that will oversee operations of the Carolyn & Maurice LeBauer Park and adjacent Center City Park downtown, has hired its executive director.

Denise C. Caruso

Denise C. Caruso

Denise Caruso has an extensive background in marketing and the management of public sites. She recently started her new role in Greensboro and is preparing for LeBauer Park’s grand opening, targeted now for mid-July.

Caruso comes to Greensboro from Seattle, where she worked as the public space activation manager of the Downtown Seattle Association. There, she was responsible for the development of the public space activation department. She worked with Seattle Parks and Rec to activate two parks in downtown Seattle. Caruso worked with community partners, interfaced with vendors and city agencies, managed agreements and more.

“We have so many exciting events and activities planned,” Caruso said. “It will be awesome to see the response to all of the fun classes and events.” 

Previously, Caruso served as the executive marketing director for the Pacific Northwest Region for Whole Foods Market.

The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro has played critical roles in the establishment of Center City and LeBauer parks. Most recently, the Foundation has managed the design and construction of the new $10-million LeBauer Park, funded through the bequest of a donor, the late Carolyn Weill LeBauer of Greensboro – who directed that her gift be used for the creation of a new public park.

Groundbreaking for LeBauer Park took place in November 2014. The park’s grand opening is now tentatively scheduled for mid-July, having been delayed by unusually wet weather throughout the fall and winter. Upon opening, the Foundation will convey the park to the city, per LeBauer’s wishes.

The Foundation, in conjunction with the city and Action Greensboro, created Greensboro Downtown Parks, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, to oversee the operations of LeBauer and Center City parks. This will include scheduling and managing arts performances and other special events, fundraising through sponsorship sales and more.

“We are thrilled to have someone with Denise’s career history on-board to launch and manage LeBauer Park,” said Walker Sanders, president of The Community Foundation. “By bringing LeBauer and Center City parks under the same management umbrella, Greensboro Downtown Parks can maximize the potential of these two very special areas for our community.”

LeBauer Park has been carefully designed to not only become a key downtown destination for families and visitors, but also to serve as the physical connector of a number of surrounding cultural assets – including the Cultural Arts Center, the new Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts, Greensboro Historical Museum and Greensboro Public Library – thus creating a true “cultural district” downtown.

“This is a great time to be in Greensboro,” Caruso said. “There are exciting new projects everywhere you look. I am excited to be part of LeBauer Park and the asset it will be in the community.”

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