Betsy Waite, Director
“I’ve lived in over 10 cities during my adult life - the City of Gainesville offers something truly unique. You can tell just by walking around Gainesville how much this city cares about its parks and nature. Thank you, voters for allowing us to continue to create exceptional wild spaces and public places.”
Betsy Waite, Wild Spaces and Public Places Director
As Wild Spaces and Public Places (WSPP) Director for the City of Gainesville, Betsy Waite is responsible for the implementation of the City’s Recreation Master Plan and 352Arts Roadmap and manages many of the capital improvement projects supported by the WSPP funding source.
Prior to joining the WSPP Team in January of 2018 Betsy served as a Project Manager with the City of Gainesville Public Works Department. There she managed a variety of construction projects to include landfill remediation, multi-modal projects, storm water conveyance systems, and roadway reconstruction in excess of $7 million annually. Employment prior to moving to Gainesville included working as a Safety Engineer for Manson Construction Company, a dredging company specializing in beach re-nourishment and channel maintenance, as well as working as an active duty Army Officer in the Engineer Branch where she performed in a variety of leadership roles to include Battalion Adjutant, Maintenance Platoon Leader, Assistant Battalion Logistics Officer, and a Vertical Construction Platoon Leader. She managed construction both stateside and in Afghanistan while serving in the US Army.
Betsy holds a Bachelor of Science degree from West Point in Civil Engineering and a Master’s degree in Business Administration with a focus on Project Management from Florida Institute of Technology. She is a professional engineer registered in the state of Florida.
Please contact Betsy you would like information on current projects, upcoming projects, or other questions about Wild Spaces and Public Places.
Betsy Waite, P.E.
Wild Spaces and Public Places Director
Office Hours: Monday–Friday, 7:00 am–4:00 pm
Michelle Park, Assistant Director
Michelle has over 40 years of experience in the public parks and recreation profession having worked at the local level in Palm Beach County for 11 years, eight as the Director of Recreation and now in the City of Gainesville for ten years as the Assistant Director of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs. She worked at the state level as the Executive Director of the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association for twelve years and the Maryland Recreation and Parks Association for two years and at the national level with the National Recreation and Park Association for six years as the Director of Professional Development. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Parks and Recreation from the University of Florida and a Master’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. She has been an active volunteer at the local, state and national level on boards and committees and is very passionate about explaining the benefits of parks, recreation and cultural affairs to all who will listen! She is thrilled to be finishing her career working on the Wild Spaces and Public Spaces program for the City of Gainesville. Thank you voters for supporting this important effort. Remember…It Starts in Parks!
Michelle Park, CPRP
Wild Spaces and Public Places Assistant Director
Office Hours: Thursday, 7:00 am–5:00 pm
Sarit Sela, City Architect
As City Architect for the City of Gainesville, Sarit Sela is responsible for planning, directing, and supervising the development and implementation of a long-range Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for the City's facilities and various Wild Spaces Public Places (WSPP) initiatives. She works with WSPP team and City departments to analyze projected needs, current conditions, and develop designs for long and short-range capital improvement programs to maintain or upgrade facilities, parks and nature amenities.
Sarit is an experienced architect and urban designer. She has led a wide array of flagship community initiatives worldwide from visioning and design, through community outreach and engagement, to construction and implementation. Sarit developed master plans, and led streetscape renovation, building rehabilitation, historic preservation, and interior design projects.
Previous to her current position as City Architect, Sarit served six years as a Project Manager with the Gainesville CRA and City of Gainesville. There she led the design and managed the Thomas Center Office Building renovations, Power District Catalyst Building adaptive reuse, GTEC/Cornerstone Master Plan, Seminary Lane Master Plan, and NW 1st Avenue Streetscape project. Before relocating to Florida, Sarit worked as an architect in the private industry in the Bay Area, CA, London, UK, and Jerusalem, Israel.
Sarit holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, and a Master’s degree in Planning & Development with a focus on Urban Regeneration from University College London, UK. She is a professional architect registered in the state of Florida and a U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design approved professional (LEED AP).
Sarit Sela, AIA
City Architect, Office of the City Manager
Phone: Office - (352) 393-8649; Cell - (352) 451-3383
Jeff Olofson, Senior Construction Inspector
Jeff Olofson is the Senior Construction Inspector for the Wild Spaces Public Places Department. He recently came to Gainesville from New Hampshire with more than 20 years of construction inspection and project management experience. He has done work on roadways, bridges, commercial and residential buildings, utilities, and universities in over a dozen states across the United States for both government entities and private companies. He also has extensive experience in sinkhole detection and remediation in Florida and Georgia. He currently holds a bachelor’s degree from Colorado State and a master’s degree from the University of Nevada in addition to a myriad of other certifications that make him a valued asset to the WSPP team.
Senior Senior Construction Inspector, Wild Spaces & Public Places
Phone: Office - (352) 393-8531; Cell - (352) 681-7574
Angie Gould, Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist
As Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist, Angie Collaborates with the Wild Spaces & Public Places director and team to develop the program’s communications. She develops marketing materials for the purpose of enhancing citizen engagement and awareness of WSPP’s achievements.
Angie received her BFA from the University of Florida's School of Art and Art History, and her MFA from Florida State University. She spent four years teaching university-level drawing, painting, figure study, and digital photography in the US and Italy. She has been a participating artist on the Friday night art walk, a performing musician for the city concert series held at the Bo Diddley Plaza, a member of the Prairie Creek Conservation Cemetery and is actively involved in USTA tennis at Westside Park. She comes to us from the University of Florida and has had over 10 year’s communications experience.
Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist, Wild Spaces & Public Places
Phone: Office - (352) 393-8182