It wasn’t supposed to be this way for neighborhood resident Lynn Parker.
When Parker, a mother of six and grandmother of nine, moved to Greenland Hills late in 2000, it was supposed to be about retirement. As a former teacher and school administrator, she was ready to spend her time whittling away at the hours of the day.
But as Parker herself is the first to admit: “I’m the kind of person who needs a project.”
So under good-natured pressure from her neighbors to take a more active role, Parker soon found herself president of the neighborhood association [GHNA]. And during her term, one project took over her life.
The GHNA has recently reinvigorated due to the fight for the neighborhood’s conservation district status. Before that — several years ago, Parker says — the association’s beautification committee decided that neighborhood sign toppers would look good on the area’s lampposts.
“They [the beautification committee] talked to neighbors, came up with a design and had funds donated by a neighbor who has since moved,” Parker says. Eventually, however, she says the project “kind of died on vine.”
Still, she says, “people remembered it, so when the resurgence occurred, everybody really got revved up about doing it again.”
One of those people is a woman Parker admires very much.
“Angela Hunt, who worked so hard on getting us conservation district status, was also in charge of the home tour,” Parker says. “And she had made the comment: Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the sign toppers were done in time for the home tour?
“And I just thought: By golly, if the girl wants the sign toppers up, the girl gets the sign toppers. She needed a reward for working so hard.”
Luckily, the old GHNA bank account still had a few thousand dollars left in it. So, as a ballot circulated asking residents to vote for one of two signs and brackets designed by neighborhood resident and architect Jon Buell, Parker got to work. She enlisted the help of her husband, Bob, who began charting every lamppost in the neighborhood for her.
Though some of the lampposts were original, installed around 1923, many were replacements of different heights and sizes. Bulbs and globes needed repairing. Of the 30 lampposts in the neighborhood, seven needed to be replaced, and many others needed to be fixed. Additionally, most had to be re-painted.
“It involved working with a mind-boggling number of entities,” says Parker, who enlisted SNL Designs to make the brackets and Diamond Signs for the signs.
To help with fixing and replacing lampposts, Parker called the city, and was eventually put in contact with Ron Turner at Oncor, who she effusively describes as “wonderful.”
“The response from Oncor has just been awesome,” Parker says. “I would send in a work order, and before I could turn around, they would get it done.”
After many weeks spent calling here and running there, on the Friday before the neighborhood’s recent home tour, Parker hung the last sign topper on the last like-new lamppost. Originally quoted a price of $10,000 to get it all done, she’d managed to pay about $3,500, she says.
The goal-oriented Parker, whose term recently ended, is proud of the way things turned out.
“I was absolutely hell-bent to get these signs up during my tenure,” she says. “I didn’t do this to toot my own horn, but it was certainly a nice swan song.”
And the neighborhood response?
“They are thrilled to death,” she says. “The neighbors have been just delighted.”