It’s been nine years since Joan Walne was appointed to the Dallas Park Board by then-City Councilman Bill Blaydes. She continued to serve under Councilman Jerry Allen when he was elected, and when she reached her four-term limit last year, Mayor Mike Rawlings asked her to stay on another year as board president.
“I was happy to hang around,” says the long-term advocate of Dallas’ parks and recreation centers, “but you don’t want to be that person who stays too long.”
Now, Walne has been “termed out,” she says. Allen recently appointed Robin Norcross to fill the vacancy left by Walne, and Norcross has moved from her Landmark Commission spot, which she held for roughly seven years, to the Park Board. Her first official Park Board meeting will be this Thursday.
Norcross says she hopes to “continue to be an advocate for the city and, in particular, District 10.” She mentions that one of her specific areas of interest is the work that needs to be done on trails. In Lake Highlands, which has a number of projects coming down the pike, there has been “money there for nine years, so hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later,” Norcross says.
Norcross also asked us to remind everyone that it’s not too late to sign up for this Saturday’s It’s My Park Day event; sign up here.
Walne says she feels that Norcross “will be interested in what we’ve set as priorities and unfinished business,” and is “confident that she will do a great job.”
As for Walne, what will she do now? Relax and take some time off? Not likely. She says she’s looking for something else to dive into, and will continue to advocate for parks, specifically Dallas’ Fair Park. Walne says she has a “huge heart” for Fair Park, and is excited about opportunities to make it more of a year-round venue. Already, it welcomes 3 million visitors annually in addition to the turnout for the State Fair of Texas, she says.
Blaydes, who appointed Walne, says “she’s had a fantiastic run at it it. It hasn’t always been easy, when you’re doing something voluntarily on the public basis, but Joan Walne has done this city a tremendous job.”
We asked Walne if her duration of city service exceeded her husband’s, former Councilman Alan Walne. She laughed and said no way — he served on the Park Board before being elected to City Council. Both Walnes were recognized this year as the recipients of the Spirit of the Centennial awards.
“That’s quite a family,” Blaydes says. “They have literally given years to this neighborhood.”