AUBURN, Ala.- After nearly 47 years, Parks and Recreation Director Becky Richardson will retire on Sept. 1, leaving a legacy of true public service.
Richardson began her career with the City of Auburn as a playground assistant, volleyball official and tennis instructor before joining the City full-time as an assistant women’s director. She was promoted to Parks and Recreation director in 1993 and has led one of the City’s largest departments for 30 years.
During Richardson’s tenure, the City’s parks and recreation offerings grew exponentially. She was instrumental in the City’s partnership with Auburn University to bring an exceptional tennis facility — the Yarbrough Tennis Center — to the Auburn community in 2007. Numerous other parks and recreation facilities opened and expanded under her leadership, including Town Creek Park, Sam Harris Park, Duck Samford Park, Hickory Dickory Park, the Auburn Soccer Complex, the Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center and the Auburn/Opelika Skatepark. The City’s cemeteries have also been significantly upgraded, including the addition of columbariums and improved entrances and landscaping.
As Auburn’s population grew, Richardson spearheaded efforts to develop a comprehensive roadmap for the City’s future recreation needs, resulting in the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Master Plan that was adopted by the Auburn City Council in 2018. Several projects that came out of the plan are currently underway, including the expansion of the Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center and the Auburn Soccer Complex as well as the addition of Lake Wilmore Community Center.
Richardson holds a bachelor’s degree from Judson College and a Master of Education from Auburn University. She is a past director of the Achievement Center and Dixie Softball Incorporated. She served as president of the Alabama Tennis Association and the Auburn Beautification Council and has served on numerous committees for the Alabama Recreation and Parks Association as well as chairman of the Community Development Committee for Southern Tennis Association. She has also served on the board of the Kreher Preserve including as chair. In 2014, Richardson was inducted into the Alabama Tennis Foundation Hall of Fame.
“Through our parks, playgrounds, recreation centers, programs and special events, Becky has impacted the lives of practically everyone who has called Auburn home over the last four decades,” Auburn City Manager Megan McGowen Crouch said. “She has always gone above and beyond the call of duty, and I will truly miss her counsel.”