The Sandy Springs Conservancy, a parks advocacy organization, has named Melody Harclerode as its new executive director.
Harclerode, who started the job March 13, is an architect with green space management experience. She is a past president of the Atlanta chapter of the American Institute of Architects and former director of programs at the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance in DeKalb County. She also writes an architecture column for Atlanta INtown, a sister publication of Reporter Newspapers.
Harclerode said that she sees the Conservancy position as “a great opportunity to connect people to outdoor places.” She added in an email that she is “thrilled to work with dynamic board members, civic-minded partners and the community in creating, conserving and connecting parks and greenspace in Sandy Springs.”
The Conservancy’s leadership situation has been in flux for over a year. Founding board member Linda Bain retired from the executive director position in January 2016 after eight years in the job. She was replaced by Billy Parrish, a Dunwoody development consultant, who left the position after a few months and is moving out of state. Conservancy board members have helped to lead the organization in the interim, at the same time the city’s land-use plan and zoning code, which include green-space priorities, have undergone revision.
Among Harclerode’s first tasks in the job is overseeing the Conservancy’s annual “Thought Leaders” program later this month, where a green space expert meets with city staff and speaks at an invitation-only dinner attended by community leaders. According to the Conservancy’s website, this year’s guest is Ryan Gravel, an urban planner who came up with the idea of the Atlanta BeltLine path and transit loop and recently wrote a well-received book called “Where We Want to Live.”