Leslie Knope is a mid-level government employee who is trying to convert an abandoned construction pit into a usable community park. In her path are the typical defensive bureaucrats, selfish neighbors, real estate developers and single-issue fanatics determined to prevent her from doing any good in her community.
Leslie is helped, as well as undermined, by co-worker Tom Haverford, who routinely uses his position in the department for his own personal gain. Her boss Ron Swanson becomes a serious problem to the success of her project, in part due to his philosophical opposition to the government. City planner Mark Brendanawicz works with Leslie and Ann to help them navigate through the defensive bureaucrats and developers, but has been jaded by 15 years of working for the city of Pawnee.