STATE FAIRGROUNDS, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Julie LaFave will leave her job as Syracuse Parks Commissioner to take the newly-created position of “operations director” at the New York State Fair.

“We look forward to Julie LaFave joining the Great New York State Fair team,” wrote a spokesperson for the State Fair. “She brings more than 20 years of public and private recreation management experience, and will be a great asset to the Fair.”

The spokesperson describes the operations director as “a new position that entails day-to-day operations of the Division of the State Fair,” “overseeing emergency management, buildings and grounds, security and events.”

LaFave’s transition was announced Tuesday by her current boss, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh.

“Julie’s professional experience and exuberance for parks took Syracuse to a whole new level during the past five years,” wrote Mayor Walsh in the city’s statement.

With her departure on May 1st, the city will open a national search for a new Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Youth Programs.

You can find the job posting HERE.

There were many facilities and projects that were worked on during LaFave’s tenure.

New park playgrounds at:

  • McKinley
  • Norwood
  • Lower Onondaga
  • Thornden

Construction pending at:

  • Spirit of Jubilee
  • Baker Playlot
  • Higher Onondaga parks
  • Gymnasium renovation at Magnarelli Center at McChesney Park
  • Saltwater conversions at Valley
  • Southwest, Burnet, Thornden, with three additional pools to come
  • Complete renovation of Burnet Pool

Here is a list of the parks and playgrounds managed by the city.

“LaFave was a staunch advocate for increasing access to parks and parks programs. She led the department during the COVID-19 pandemic ensuring that outdoor facilities remained open and parks programs for people of all ages continued,” said the Mayor’s office.

During her time, LaFave helped increase the accessibility of the parks in Syracuse, adding adaptive equipment.

The city of Syracuse is in charge of over 1,000 acres of parks, playgrounds and open spaces in Syracuse.