Stenger names Bess director of parks department

County Executive Steve Stenger has appointed Gary Bess as director of the St. Louis County Parks and Recreation Department.

“Gary’s extensive experience will be a welcome addition to the team,” Stenger stated in a news release.

Bess served as director for the St. Louis Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry for 18 years before retiring Dec. 31.

As director, Bess developed and implemented millions of dollars in capital improvement plans for the city’s parks, according to Mayor Francis Slay.

“Gary has dedicated more than 40 years of service to our city and has done a tremendous job improving our parks and recreation centers, and developing and implementing citywide programs for tree care and planting, vacant-lot maintenance, composting and park snow removal,” Slay stated in a news release. “His list of accomplishments and accolades is long, well-deserved and appreciated. I think I will miss his color-coordinated suits as much as his work.”