Merrimack Valley Planning Commission Formally Appoints Park as Executive Director

Theresa Park become the executive director of the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission in Jabuary, 2020. (Courtesy photograph.)

As expected, the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission has appointed Theresa Park, of Lowell, as its new executive director.

Park joins the Haverhill-based Commission with 27 years of experience in the public and private sectors. Currently, she works as the director of Lawrence’s Office of Planning and Development, where she manages all matters related to planning, development and permitting. Those duties include community development, economic development, inspectional services, land use and development and planning long-range capital and infrastructure projects.

The Merrimack Valley Planning Commission contracted with Community Paradigm Associates and its principal, former Lowell City Manager Bernard F. Lynch, to search for and recruit candidates for the position. Park was selected for the position from a field of 22 applicants.

“It is a distinct honor to be appointed as the next executive director,” said Park. “I have first-hand knowledge of the incredible quality of the work of the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission staff and of the organization’s commitment to helping this region thrive, so I recognize what a privilege it is to be coming aboard. I am excited to begin working with this dedicated team on behalf of all the municipalities we serve.”

Commission Chairman Robert Snow of Rowley says he is “confident” in Park’s abilities, noting she has some history with the agency.

He says, “She brings extensive planning acumen as well as deep community, government and business relationships. Theresa has significant knowledge and understanding of the Planning Commission’s work as she was a senior planner here in the mid-1990s and served as a Commissioner in more recent years.”

Prior to her work in Lawrence, Park worked as director of economic development for the City of Lowell, Principal Planner for the City of Newton, program manager for the Cambridge Business Development Center and associate project planner for the City of Cambridge.

Park is a graduate of George Washington University with a Master of Urban and Regional Planning and University of Massachusetts Amherst with a bachelor’s in business administration. She also participated in a graduate program in International Development at the University of Oslo in Norway.

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