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Salt Lake County parks director tapped for Honolulu parks post

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A woman from Hawaii who has led Salt Lake County’s municipal parks system is coming home to take over the Honolulu parks director job.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced the nomination of Michele Nekota to become the city’s next parks and recreation director in a press release Tuesday. She must be confirmed by the City Council.

Nekota would replace current director Toni Robinson, who will be retiring at the end of March after 37 years with the Parks and Recreation Department, the last 15 months as its director.

Nekota is director of Salt Lake County’s Parks and Recreation Division, where she oversees administration and management of the municipality’s 21 recreation centers, 102 parks, three ice centers, 18 swimming pools, six golf courses, 6,925 acres of open space and more than 100 miles of trails. 

She has been with Salt Lake’s P&R Division since October 1985, according to her LinkedIn page.

She grew up on Oahu and graduated from Kalani High School before obtaining her bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology from Brigham Young University, and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix. 

Nekota played volleyball for the BYU Cougars in 1979, 1981 and 1982, according to the BYU Athletic Department Web site, and later professionally with the National Volleyball Association. She said she first learned to play volleyball at a Honolulu parks and recreation program and later was a Summer Fun program worker during her college years.

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