Joe Turner Appointed To National Parks Board
November 22, 2010

Congratulations to  Joe Turner, the City of Houston’s  Director of  Parks and Recreation Department.

Turner has been appointed to the National Recreation and Park Association’s Board of  Directors. 

Turner is a nice guy and very widely respected for the work he’s done transforming many Houston parks into crown jewels of the community.

William “Joe” Turner Appointed to NRPA Board of Directors
The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) recently appointed William “Joe” Turner to the organization’s 2010-2011 Board of Directors.  The announcement was made during NRPA’s Annual Congress & Exposition in Minneapolis, Minn.NRPA’s Board of Directors is composed of 21 individuals.  Board members are representative of NRPA’s membership, which includes leaders in the park, recreation and conservation movement, park and recreation professionals, and individuals from corporations, industry suppliers, commercial businesses, and volunteer and civic groups.

“Joe will be an asset to our Board,” said Janna Rankin, chair of NRPA’s Board of Directors.  “He has supported the park and recreation movement and NRPA’s mission on many levels throughout his career.  We are excited to have his expertise and leadership skills, which we know will contribute to achieving NRPA’s goals and moving the association forward.”

Joe Turner, a native Houstonian, has served as the Director of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) since July 2004. HPARD is responsible for developing and maintaining the City of Houston’s over 38,992  acres of parkland and greenspaces and providing recreational opportunities and programming for citizens of all abilities.  Prior to serving the city, he was the Parks Administrator for Harris County Precinct 4. A Gulf Coast Master Naturalist, he holds an Executive Master of Business Administration Degree from Texas Women’s University and is a member of the National Recreation and Park Association, the Texas Recreation and Park Society, the Greater Gulf Coast Parks and Recreation Director’s Association, the Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition, Trees For Houston, the Heritage Society, the Houston Garden Center Board, Hermann Park Conservancy, the Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, and Houston Wilderness.       

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of roughly 18,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy lifestyles, recreation initiatives, and conservation of natural and cultural resources.  For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit

The Houston Parks and Recreation Department stewards and manages over 38,992 acres of parkland and greenspace for the City of Houston and develops and implements recreational programming for citizens of all abilities. For more information on the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, call (832) 395-7022 or visit

History and The Houston Parks and Recreation Department
December 9, 2009

It is  an important part of  Houston’s past that has been preserved for future generations.

On Tuesday evening,  Mayor Bill White and the city of  Houston Parks and Recreation Department unveiled the newly renovated Gragg Building in Southeast Houston.

Years ago the same building served as the headquarters for NASA’s manned spacecraft center.

Today the  spacious  building  serves as the headquarters for HPARD  Director Joe Turner and countless other employees who help  keep our city facilities looking nice and well-maintained throughout the year.

Beginning  in 2010,   Houstonians will have the opportunity to rent some of the  indoor and outdoor  space to hold weddings and other special events.

Few people realize that the Gragg Building’s connection to NASA from 1962 to 1964,  In fact, there are several really cool photographs hanging in the lobby to remind city employees and visitors that the building has special significance, and is more than just brick  and mortar.

You can read more about the building’s history on the city of  Houston website:

The building recently underwent a $16 million renovation that preserved its character and historic significance, according to Turner.

The Gragg Building is a city landmark and is on the National Register of  Historical Places. 

 It will also be designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark by the Commission.

Meanwhile, dozens of  Houstonians attended the unveiling Tuesday  night, including Houston’s first Lady Andrea White, newly elected city council member Oliver Pennington and his wife,  HPARD staff member Gail Brown, Mayoral candidate Gene Locke and Mrs. Locke, the architects and many others who had an opportunity to tour the building.