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  • Writer's pictureStaff Reporter

Mayor Appoints New Commissioner Parks, Rec and Youth Programs & Promotes former Recreation Director

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh appointed Tony Williams as the new Commissioner of Parks Recreation and Youth Programs (PRYP) for the City of Syracuse, the city announced on Aug. 10, 2023. Walsh also promoted Chris Abbott to Deputy PRYP Commissioner.

Tony Williams

The PRYP department has nearly 640 full time and seasonal employees and oversees 1,000 acres of parks, playgrounds, and open spaces and nearly 50 facilities in neighborhoods across the city. The department has 12 bureaus that manage and support programs, activities and events for youth, seniors and people of all ages.

Williams brings 12 years of facilities management and capital planning in government and non-profit recreation. He starts as commissioner Aug. 30, 2023.

Abbott held the department’s recreation program director position since 2002. His nearly two decades with the department affords him deep knowledge of city parks programs.

Williams was associate vice president of facilities and capital planning for the YMCA of Central New York since 2021 where he was responsible for building systems and maintenance and capital projects management for the Y’s seven major locations in Onondaga County.

Williams has a passion for health and fitness and worked previously as a personal trainer.

“We found the right candidate to build on our progress in Parks Recreation and Youth Programs in our own city. Tony Williams brings the knowledge and experience we need and a passion for how multi-site, community-based organizations can enrich people’s lives and make neighborhoods stronger,” said Walsh. “Tony understands the importance of community spaces and the positive impact they can have, especially our youth and seniors. We look forward to having Tony lead our Parks Recreation and Youth Programs team.”

Chris Abbott

Abbott now oversees recreational and enrichment programming and serves as the coordinator of Health and Wellness initiatives. He also works closely with multiple community partners to develop and operate inclusive recreational programming and policies.

“Chris Abbott is an accomplished exercise, fitness and recreation professional who has dedicated most of his career to Syracuse parks and the people of our city,” Walsh said. “The city has been fortunate to have him on our team. I look forward to seeing his contributions as deputy commissioner of the department.”


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