The central walkway at Randall Park is open after being gated for several years. (Photo courtesy of the Parks and Rec in D14 Facebook page.)

As part of ongoing updates to Randall Park, recently renamed Willis Winters Park, the Park and Recreation Department decided Monday to reopen the central walkway, which had been gated for years.

Opening the gates will allow visitors, especially those with limited mobility, to travel more easily from the front of the park to the back, without walking around the perimeter, District 14 park board representative Amanda Schulz said on Facebook.

It will also create more opportunities for neighbors to visit Will’s Place, a memorial pavilion to honor Will Winters, a Woodrow Wilson sophomore who died in 2005 because of complications following foot surgery. He was the son of former Park and Recreation Director Willis Winters.

The gates are reopening after they were locked in 2012 because of continued graffiti on the concession stand and bathrooms, Schulz said. But a renewed interest in the park from community groups spurred City of Dallas officials to spray anti-graffiti sealants on the buildings and reopen the gates.

“It’s been eight years, and there’s still some problems, but a lot of things have changed in the area around the park and the school, so we made the decision to try this again,” she said.

Increasing public access to the park was the topic of conversation Saturday, when Schulz and District 14 Councilman David Blewett toured the grounds to discuss repairs and updates that are underway.

“Councilman Blewett, the Park and Recreation Department, the Friends of Willis Winters Park, Dallas ISD and I have been working collectively over the past few months to incorporate community suggestions into action items to make this park even better for the neighborhood,” Schulz said on Facebook.

Suggestions for further improvement can be sent to Schulz at

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.