Willis Winters, Who Grew Dallas' Parks and Saved Dallas' History, Is Retiring From City Hall

Willis Winters, the architect and planner and preservationist whose primary job is to bring some measure of joy to the residents of Dallas, announced Monday he is retiring as director of the Park and Recreation Department.It's a title he has held since January 2013. But his long list of notable triumphs dates back much further, to the 20 years he spent previously as parks manager and the department's assistant director. That was back when stingy city managers and City Council members targeted the department every time there was a budget shortage or financial crisis.His final day will be Oct. 22.Winters — a native of Garland whose father spent more than three decades as that city's Park and Recreation Department director — spent most of his career as a public servant at a City Hall that too often treated green space as a luxury not a necessity. Yet he managed to wring every last blade of grass and every last brick from every penny on the dollar the city put toward parks and rec centers and sports complexes and aquatics facilities. During his tenure, Winters helped oversee the writing of two master plans, including the 2002 A Renaissance Plan; the remaking of the municipal golf courses; the expanding of the city's trails system; the development of the downtown parks and Klyde Warren Park; and the opening of everything from the MoneyGram Soccer Park at Elm Fork to the new water parks.   Continue reading...

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