Willis Winters | Director | Dallas Parks & Recreation Department

Director of the Dallas Park and Recreation Department since 2013, Willis leads one of the nation’s largest municipal park systems. Dallas’ 23,242 acres of park land include 393 parks, 13 lakes, 41 recreation centers, 158 miles of hike and bike trails, Fair Park, the Dallas Zoo, the Trinity Audubon Center, and the Dallas Arboretum.  He has oversight of 932 full-time employees and manages an $91.3 million annual operating budget, with 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.  As part of Director Winters’ strategic vision, the department is currently seeking accreditation with the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA). Willis has also commissioned a Comprehensive Plan Update, a Recreation Master Plan, an Economic Value of Parks Study and Benchmarking Study as a way to improve the department’s performance evaluation and decision-making processes.

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 member of the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, and a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. He is the author of six books, including Fair Park (2010) and Dealey Plaza (2013).


Purchase Tickets:

Environmental Awareness Dinner | March 28, 2019

Thank you for choosing to support the White Rock Lake Foundation and the preservation of our community treasure by attending the Environmental Awareness Dinner. We look forward to thanking you in person on March 28, 2019 at the Lakewood Country Club.

The White Rock Lake Foundation was formed in 1985 and has been instrumental in improving White Rock Lake. The Foundation works closely, effectively, and cooperatively with the Dallas Parks & Recreation Department (DPARD). We assist DPARD in long-term planning and design, and spearhead private fundraising efforts.
Fundraising continues to be critical to the goals, safety, and improvements at White Rock Lake and is responsible for amenities at the park such as signage, benches, landscaping, and other important and desirable improvements.