Michael D. Barber has been the Director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism for the City of Chesapeake since 2012. Since that time, Mike has been leading the way in refurbishing, renovating, and enhancing many of the City’s parks and recreational facilities, including full renovation of Elizabeth River Park, modifications to Chesapeake City Park, Lakeside Park, Deep Creek Park, the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail, all community centers, many playgrounds and athletic fields including those at school sites, as well as a number of other projects and programs. Exciting new projects under his leadership beginning in 2020 include the new Splash Park at Western Branch Community Center, the development of two new parks and major improvements and renovations to Northwest River Park. The Chesapeake Conference Center, Tourism division, and Chesapeake’s first official Visitor Center have become a part of the Department during his tenure with City. Additionally, an updated MOU with Chesapeake Public Schools has been established resulting in more shared city resources and services provided to citizens.
Before becoming employed with the City of Chesapeake, Mike worked for the Newport News Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism for more than 30 years. He was the chairman of the first local organizing committee for the AAU Junior Olympic Games held in Hampton Roads in 1998 with additional participation in the games 5 times since. The event when held in the region reaches more than 14,000 young athletes and their families while creating a local economic impact of more than $40 million per event.
Mike holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education from Virginia Tech and a Master of Science degree in Physical Education/Recreation – Leisure Service Administration from Old Dominion University. He has been a member of the Virginia Recreation and Park Society and the National Recreation and Park Association for more than 35 years, serving on various boards and committees.