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Cincinnati Red Bike founder hired as new Parks director

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Jason Barron has career experience at City Hall, and at the Ohio Statehouse.

The man who launched Cincinnati's Red Bike program will head up the Parks Department. Jason Barron was approved Tuesday by the Board of Park Commissioners. Vice President Linda Lee Thomas says the board got input from parks employees before making the decision.

“They talked about a visionary leader. They talked about a leader, one who could be the face of the parks to the public, one that could inspire internally,” Thomas says.

Barron will follow Steve Pacella, who served as interim director since May. He took the position after John Neyer served six months in the position, following the resignation of Kara Kish last December.

Search committee chair Molly North says Parks director is a tough job. “It requires someone that really can advocate for the parks in a lot of capacities, from City Hall, to community, to the foundation… that can be as comfortable in a suit as they are in a pair of boots.”

North says Barron "connects all these dots." Barron has been the director of Cincinnati Red Bike since 2014. Before that, he worked for Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory.

North says the vetting process was lengthy, and there were no shortages of candidates. “We met with people outside of Cincinnati, inside of Cincinnati; people that have extensive non-profit experience, people that have extensive government experience. People that have spent most of their careers actually working in the city. So I’m pleased with how much career diversity we have looked at there.”

Barron’s salary and his start date have not been agreed upon yet.