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Service that made the difference

MIKE McGEE
 | 2/13/2015, 9:42 a.m.
“Passion” and “compassion” were the words Gail Terrell employed when she described the positive characteristics she draws upon to serve ...
Gail Terrell, Dallas Park and Recreation Board

“One of the things that the mayor pro tem did was speak to the city manager to see if there were any ways that we could do some innovative things in order to come up with the money,” Terrell said.

She also mentioned that Atkins looked into using discretionary funds that are in every City Council member’s budget as a way to help build the facility. Terrell pointed out that DART supported the new center as well and is responsible for putting in the new entryway. By partnering with the same concrete company that DART uses, the Park Board was able to erect the center’s entryway for a lower price.

The road has not always been easy for Terrell. She recounted some of the challenges she faced over the years while working for the citizens of her district.

“Getting to know staff better; helping them to understand my compassion to the city and to District 8,” has been a struggle at times, Terrell confessed. She further recalled a few early planning meetings that involved the 15-acre Singing Hills center.

“It wasn’t always a situation where it was inviting,” she stated diplomatically about her input into designs and similar aspects of the project.

“I wanted to stay informed because I need to be able to share with the community what’s going on. A lot of times as you may see developments come up in areas you don’t know what it is until it’s there.”

She further voiced that she wanted her constituents to be stakeholders in the center.

“She’s been doing a great job,” Payton continued. “She has really been very hands-on for not just improving our park but in all of the parks in her district.”

Terrell’s concern for the citizens of the district extends beyond local parks, however. She related a conversation she had with a contractor that eventually expanded into a full-blown home renovation project.

“One of the things that he offered to do was, if I identified a senior citizen that was a resident, that was a home owner in District 8, that he would pull together a team of his workers and they would go in and do an exterior makeover of the lady’s home that would be of no cost to her,” she disclosed.

Lillie Mullins, a neighbor of the anonymous resident, was impressed with the ongoing renovation endeavor.

“She did a good job. She’s on the ball. She knows what she’s doing – if they’d just help her,” the neighbor laughed, commenting slyly on the level of cooperation she sees from City Hall.

With such professional accomplishments checked off her “to do” list Terrell affirmed that she has contemplated her decades-long career in city government and concluded that it was the right moment for her to step away from the Park Board. While she kept silent about the details of her newest direction, Payton hinted that a run for city office might be up next for the representative.

“We’re going to support her because she’s been very supportive of us. She’s really done well coming from New Orleans and, you know, no Dallas contacts hardly, and was able to come to Dallas and make the impact that she’s made,” he reflected. “It’s really quite remarkable.”