Board of Park Commissioners
Great Parks of Hamilton County (formerly Hamilton County Park District) was created in 1930 with the mission to protect local natural resources and to provide outdoor recreation and education for area residents. Great Parks of Hamilton County is a separate political subdivision of the State of Ohio, governed by a Board of Park Commissioners. Board members are appointed by the Judge of Hamilton County Probate Court, the Honorable Ralph Winkler.
The Board is comprised of five individuals who serve without compensation for terms of three years. The Board sets governance policies, approves land acquisitions and annual budgets. The Board appoints a Chief Executive Officer who is responsible for the implementation of park policies and leads the overall operation of Great Parks of Hamilton County.
William J. Burwinkel was first appointed to the Board effective January 11, 2016 and most recently reappointed effective January 1, 2017. Mr. Burwinkel is the founder and Chairman of the Board of National Marketshare Group, Inc. He is also the founder of Adopt A Class Foundation and is active throughout the Greater Cincinnati community serving on the Cincinnati Public Services Quality of Life Board, Cincinnati Police Chief Advisory Board, the Queensgate Business Alliance and the Westside Summit.
HC Buck Niehoff was first appointed to the Board effective January 1, 2014 and most recently reappointed effective January 1, 2018. Mr. Niehoff is retired from the law firm of Peck, Shaffer & Williams LLC. He has served on the Board of Trustees of the University of Cincinnati as well as on the boards of many local organizations, including the Cincinnati Museum Center, Mercantile Library and Ohio Cancer Research Associates.
Joseph C. Seta was first appointed to the Board effective January 1, 2011 and most recently reappointed effective January 1, 2017. He served as the President and CEO of Seta, Appleman & Showell, an advertising and graphic design firm, for 22 years and as Managing Director of Cincinnati Landor Associates Design Group. He has served on the advisory board for the College of Mount Saint Joseph and was a board member for the Central Academy of Commercial Art. He attended Xavier University and the Central Academy of Commercial Art.
Marcus L. Thompson was first appointed to the Board effective January 3, 2019. He is the HYPE (Harnessing Young Professional Energy) Programs Leader at the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and was recognized as a Forty Under 40 award recipient in 2018 by the Cincinnati Business Courier. He is also a graduate of Leadership of Central Kentucky and United Way BOLD. Mr. Thompson supports the Greater Cincinnati community as director of Gameday Operations for Saturday Hoops, serves on the Board of Trustees for the Center for Addiction Treatment, is a member of the Cincinnati Zoo Ambassador Council and is a mentor and serves on the Board of Directors for the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative. He is a graduate of Seton Hill University.
Geraldine “Ginger” Warner was first appointed to the Board effective May 2, 2012 and most recently reappointed effective January 1, 2018. She is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Cincinnati, serves as Vice Chair of the Ohio Arts Council, is Secretary for the National First Ladies Library, is a board member of Greenacres Foundation, and board member of both The Cleveland Orchestra and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Warner is a retired attorney and a graduate of New York University Law School.
Todd Palmeter, Chief Executive Officer, Great Parks of Hamilton County
Todd Palmeter became the new Chief Executive Officer of Great Parks of Hamilton County on May 16, 2019. Mr. Palmeter began his career with the park district in 2003, and since then, has steered the agency’s five-year strategic plan. He has also steered several key park district initiatives including its visioning process, needs assessment, and most recently, the agency’s first Comprehensive Master Plan. Since starting with the park district, Mr. Palmeter has played an instrumental role in the development of many of the parks district’s most popular destinations, including Highfield Discovery Garden, Fernbank Park, Otto Armleder Memorial Park and the Mitchell Memorial Forest Mountain Bike Trail. He has also served on the Green Umbrella Tri-State Trails Executive Committee, chaired the Green Umbrella Land Action Team and is actively involved with the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association through partnerships and fundraising.
Individuals interested in being considered for a future appointment to the Board of Park Commissioners of Great Parks of Hamilton County may submit a letter of interest to the Probate Court of Hamilton County, c/o Honorable Judge Ralph Winkler, William Howard Taft Law Center, 230 East Ninth Street, 10th Floor, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202. Park Commissioners must be Hamilton County residents with demonstrated skills in organizational, business and/or academic leadership and a genuine passion for public parks and the conservation of natural resources.
2019 Tentative Board Meeting Schedule
- January 31, 11 a.m. | Special Meeting – Master Plan Workshop
- January 31, 1 p.m.
- February 21, 1 p.m.
- March 21, 1 p.m.
- April 18, 1 p.m.
- May 13, 1 p.m. | Special Meeting – Board Workshop
- May 16, 1 p.m.
- June 20, 1 p.m.
- July 18, 1 p.m.
- August 15, 1 p.m. | Hamilton County Court of Domestic Relations, Judge Amy L. Searcy | 800 Broadway Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45202
- September 19, 1 p.m.
- October 17, 9 a.m.
- November 21, 1 p.m.
- December 12, 1 p.m.
- Special Board meeting
All meetings are held at the Winton Centre, 10245 Winton Road, Cincinnati, OH 45231 unless otherwise stated.
Board Meeting Minutes
2019 Board Meeting Minutes
January 31, 2019 Minutes January 31, 2019 - Special Meeting Minutes February 21, 2019 Minutes March 21, 2019 Minutes April 18, 2019 Minutes May 13, 2019 | Special Meeting Minutes May 16, 2019 Minutes
2018 Board Meeting Minutes
January 18, 2018 Minutes February 15, 2018 Minutes March 15, 2018 Minutes April 19, 2018 Minutes May 22, 2018 Minutes June 21, 2018 Minutes July 19, 2018 Minutes August 9, 2018 Minutes August 16, 2018 Minutes September 20, 2018 Minutes November 15, 2018 Minutes December 13, 2018 Minutes December 18, 2018 - Special Meeting Minutes
Great Parks Leadership Team
Todd Palmeter, Chief Executive Officer
The Chief Executive Officer serves as the chief administrator and executive officer overseeing all operations of Great Parks of Hamilton County, reporting directly to the Board of Park Commissioners. email
Rebecca McDonough, Chief Operating Officer
The Chief Operating Officer oversees the Conservation & Parks, Guest Experiences, Planning and Ranger divisions. email
Jill Frazer, Chief of Human Resources
The Chief of Human Resources oversees all employee services including payroll, hiring, benefits and training; as well as Volunteer Services. email
Bret Henninger, Chief of Conservation and Parks
The Chief of Conservation and Parks oversees all natural areas, wildlife habitat, environmental quality, biological diversity, sustainability initiatives and park operations for all developed areas. email
Bill Mowery, Chief of Guest Experiences
The Chief of Guest Experiences oversees Education and Events, Golf, Business Development and all offerings related to our guest’s experience including harbors, campgrounds, banquet centers, athletics, interpretive farm, equestrian center and gift stores. email
Tim Zelek, Chief of Planning
The Chief of Planning oversees Design and Land Acquisition, Facilities and Infrastructure, IT and Data Management, Marketing and Public Engagement and works with the Great Parks Forever Executive Director. email
Rick Spreckelmeier, Chief of Rangers
The Chief Ranger oversees our state-certified police force responsible for enforcing federal and state laws, as well as Great Parks’ by-laws. email
Great Parks Forever Board
The Great Parks Forever is facilitated by an all-volunteer Board. For more information visit the Great Parks Forever website.