Last March when the world was just beginning its upside-down normal thanks to COVID-19, the Trinity Park Conservancy (TPC) was also going through some major changes. The good news was that it had reached the $100M fundraising mark for the Harold Simmons Park’s $200M capital campaign and was entering the next phase of developing the 200-acre park and raising the rest of the $200M.
That great news coincided with the announcement that TPC President/CEO Brent Brown was reducing his involvement to an advisory capacity. Without missing a step Walter Elcock, who had served as interim director for the Dallas Museum of Art when Maxwell Anderson departed in September 2015, took over for Brown until a permanent president/CEO was hired. TPC Board Member Ginger Hardage chaired a nationwide search for the new head of the multimillion-dollar project.
After months of searching, interviewing and vetting, TPC Board Chair Deedie Rose announced that Gathering Place’s Executive Director/CEO Tony Moore had been selected for the position. His first day will be Monday, April 5.
According to Deedie, “After an extensive and thoughtful national search, Tony Moore emerged as an outstanding leader with a unique set of skills and experience in overseeing major outdoor public venues, particularly his work in making Gathering Place a welcoming and engaging space for all people.”
Having been with Tulsa’s Riverfront Park’s 70-acre Gathering Place since 2016, Tony saw the “final phase of planning and construction of the park” to its opening in 2018. Today it “draws approximately three million visitors annually, with unique programs created to authentically engage the diverse cultures of the community.”
According to Tony, “Parks are critical infrastructures that significantly impact the quality of life in our communities. We have seen this more than ever over the past year. The Trinity Park Conservancy has a vital civic mission, and Harold Simmons Park will have a lasting impact on this community, from both social and economic perspectives.”
During his 30-year career, Tony has “held senior leadership roles with leading brands such as SeaWorld, Universal Studios, Discovery Cove and Aquatica Water Park,” and also served as COO for Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo prior to joining Gathering Place.
When completed, the Harold Simmons Park will “include more than 200 acres of land in the Trinity River Floodway between the Margaret McDermott Bridge to the south and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and Ron Kirk Pedestrian Bridge to the north, as well as two Overlooks on the east and west sides of the river above and outside of the levees.”
Despite the fundraising challenges of the past months due to the pandemic, an additional $10M has been added to the earlier announced $100M, chipping away at that $200M goal.
* Photo provided by Trinity Park Conservancy