Willis C. Winters

Willis C. Winters, FAIA

Named Director of the Dallas Park and Recreation Department in 2013, Willis directs one of the nation’s largest municipal park systems. The 23,000 acres of park land include 381 parks, 13 lakes, 41 recreation centers, 130 miles of developed trails, Fair Park, The Dallas Zoo, Trinity Audubon Center and the Dallas Arboretum. He has oversight of 800 full-time employees and manages a $78 million annual operating budget and a capital budget in excess of $40 million annually. Willis has been with the Dallas Park and Recreation Department since 1993.

Willis was the co-project director for the department’s visionary and nationally recognized long-range development plan, A Renaissance Plan, in 2002. Under Winters’ direction, the department has developed a new downtown park system, including Klyde Warren Park; implemented the city-wide trail network master plan; renovated and expanded numerous recreation centers; developed new exhibits at the Dallas Zoo; planned and implemented recreational amenities within the Trinity River Corridor; formulated the Park Pavilion program and guided the restoration of the National Historic Landmark architecture at Fair Park. One of several strategic initiatives and a priority for Director Winters, the department is currently seeking accreditation with the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies. He has also commissioned a Comprehensive Plan Update, Recreation Master Plan, Economic Value of Parks Study and Benchmarking Study.

Willis has been recognized by Preservation Dallas, Preservation Texas and the Greater Dallas Planning Council with their highest awards for public service. In 2013, he was nominated for Texan of the Year by The Dallas Morning News. Willis is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and is the author of six books, including Fair Park in 2010, and a publication on the history of Dealey Plaza in 2013. [current as of 10/2014]