headshot of parks director, stephen bentley

City of Raleigh Names New Director of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources

Stephen C. Bentley, a longtime City employee, has been named Director of Raleigh Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources, City Manager Marchell Adams-David announced today. Bentley starts his new position managing the department responsible for more than 150 parks on Aug. 13.

During his 17 years with the City of Raleigh, Bentley has served in multiple roles, including positions within the Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources Department and the City’s Budget and Management Services Department. He was chosen after a competitive national search that included 54 candidates. 

“I have had the opportunity to work closely with Stephen over my tenure here in Raleigh. I know that he has a tremendous heart for service to his department and this community and it has a been a pleasure to see his phenomenal professional growth.  I am looking forward to seeing his leadership in this new role,” said Adams-David. 

Bentley has played a significant role in planning and building the city’s first active adult centers and nature preserves, acquiring Dix Park, overseeing reinvestments in many of the city’s historic sites and cemeteries, and growing the greenway system to increase bike and pedestrian opportunities within the community. He is an advocate for inclusive citizen engagement and committed to finding ways to develop and leverage partnerships to broaden the reach of the parks department.  

“The City of Raleigh’s parks and facilities play an essential role in our community. Our programs help shape the lives of thousands of young children every year, they offer opportunities for all of our residents to grow and learn,” said Bentley. “I’m excited for this opportunity to work with our passionate staff, community and partners to develop a more equitable park system and ensure there’s a place, a program and an opportunity for everyone.”

Stephen Bentley has a B.S. in Recreation and Leisure Services Management from East Stroudsburg University.  He also obtained a Masters in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Administration with a focus on Citizen Participation and Public Policy from Michigan State University. He is committed to ongoing professional development and is involved in professional and civic organizations including the City of Oaks Foundation, National Recreation and Park Association and the City Park Alliance. 



Julia Milstead
Public Information Officer