Neil Emmons

Neil Emmons

“I don’t think most of the city knows how sad a day this is for Dallas.”

That’s what city councilman Philip Kingston said on his Facebook page yesterday after learning that Dallas city plan commissioner Neil Emmons had passed away.

Emmons had been a city plan commissioner for more than a decade, and the 45-year-old taught many of our city leaders the importance of historic preservation before passed away in his sleep Thursday.

It’s sad news for Dallas, as Robert Wilonsky with the Dallas Morning News explains, but it’s especially sad for neighborhoods — many in the White Rock Lake areas — that treasure history and preservation.

“No single person in Dallas has done more to affect land use in recent history, and the changes he fought for were overwhelmingly positive,” Kingston explained via Facebook.

“His philosophy was always to side with the neighbor and the neighborhood because doing so produced the best result for the city. The result? Billions of dollars of economic development that may not have happened without his input and probably would have looked like crap if it did happen …

Many other government officials, including District 10’s Adam McGough, also have expressed similar feelings of admiration for Emmons and dismay about his sudden death.

“Hurting at the loss of Neil Emmons,” writes McGough on his page. “A passionate friend and public servant. We did not always agree, but I always knew Neil was up for the fight. I learned a lot from you over the years, and I am sad that our hidden notes at the horseshoe will not continue. You will be missed greatly my friend.”

Emmons’ family asks that in lieu of flowers, charitable donations may be made to the Dallas Endowment for Endangered Properties (Attn: Amanda Surret at Veritex Community Bank, Lakewood Branch, 2101 Abrams Road, Dallas, TX 75214).

A Memorial Mass will be held on at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 5 at St. Rita’s Catholic Church at 12521 Inwood Road in Dallas.