After a months-long national search, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has a new executive director.
Arnold Biondo, who is currently the executive director for the Carol Stream Park District, will take over the county position starting Jan. 13, according to a news release from the Carol Stream Park District. Biondo has served as the district's director since 1995 after a previously working for the Indianapolis Parks and Recreation Department.
During his time in Carol Stream, the district has earned two National Gold Medal Awards for parks excellence from the National Recreation and Parks Association, according to a news release from the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.
"I'm looking forward to forging more community partnerships to help better communicate the wonderful amenities the Forest Preserve District provides county residents," Biondo said in a statement. "I live in DuPage County and know of the phenomenal preserves and their benefits. But I believe we need to connect more with citizens to ensure everyone knows how they can benefit from our preserves."
In Carol Stream, Biondo oversaw the opening of the Fountain View Recreation Center, the acquisition of Elk Trail Recreation Center, and the addition of miles of new trails and 75 acres of open space across several new parks around the area, the park district release said.
Biondo, 60, will take the reigns from district Board President D. "Dewey" Pierotti Jr., who has been serving as interim director since June 2012 after the resignation of former executive director Brent Manning, according to the county district release. Since June, the preserve took in more than 110 applications from across the country and interviewed two finalists.
In a statement, Pierotti said he was ready to begin the year with new leadership and a fresh start.
"I'm looking forward to working with someone from DuPage County who will continue to ensure the district remains the premier conservation agency in the country," he said.
Biondo plans to continue to reside in Carol Stream, according to the park district release. He said he was appreciative of his time there.
"This was a dream job come true," he said. "I have worked with terrific residents and the best Park Board commissioners. It has been a true privilege to contribute to the betterment of a community like ours."
Biondo was given a three year contract and will be paid $188,000 annually, the forest preserve release said.