Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Director to retire after 33 Years of Service

News posted Mar. 07, 2019 - 6:00 am
Diane Sauer

Diane Sauer, the longtime director of the City of Raleigh’s Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources Department, announced her retirement effective May 1.

Ms. Sauer began her career with the City in 1985 as a part-time employee with the Specialized Recreation Services program. She was also a dedicated volunteer, coaching Little League basketball and Special Olympics basketball and softball. Through dedication, determination, and good old-fashioned hard work, she was named director of the department in 2008.

“In public service, our goal should always be to leave a place better than how you found it,” said Raleigh City Manager Ruffin Hall. “Diane has certainly done that and more. Her leadership, vision, skill, compassion, and hard work promoting a strong parks, recreation, and cultural resources system will serve our city well for generations to come. Our facilities and programs are the envy of park and greenway systems everywhere – not just in North Carolina but across the country and the world. Diane has our sincere gratitude and thanks for more than 30 years of service to the City of Raleigh”

Ms. Sauer is a strong proponent that no one should be denied services due to an inability to pay. She spearheaded the Fee Assistance Program for the Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources Department. Under her leadership, summer camp participation increased by 177 percent while the number of people taking part in health and fitness programs increased by 207 percent. Park acreage grew by 20 percent and the City’s greenway trails expanded by 75 percent under her guidance. Ms. Sauer oversaw many significant projects that changed the landscape of this growing City:


  • Completion of Raleigh’s first skateboard park at Marsh Creek Park

  • Opening of Little Rock Greenway trail, connecting Raleigh’s downtown to Walnut Creek greenway trail

  • Opening of the newly renovated Pullen Park
  • Opening of Raleigh’s first teen center: St. Monica’s Teen Center
  • Opening of Raleigh’s first two active adult centers: Anne Gordon Center at Millbrook Exchange Park and Five Points Center for Active Adults


  • Dedication of all 28 miles of the Neuse River Greenway Trail


  • Opening of Mordecai Visitor Center
  • Opening of the Halifax Community Center
  • Adoption of the John Chavis Memorial Park Master Plan


  • Opening of Honeycutt Creek Greenway Trail


  • Opening of the Sassafras All Children’s Playground at Laurel Hills Park
  • Opening of the Thomas G. Woodland Center at Lake Johnson Park


  • Opening of Forest Ridge Park
  • Expansion opening of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Gardens


  • Adoption of the master plan for Dorothea Dix Park

Subscribe to the City's News RSS Feed

Glassdoor named Raleigh

Best City for Jobs

View our accolades >>