Evelyn’s Park chief is stepping down

Evelyn’s Park Conservancy has lost its executive director.

Today (Friday, Feb. 9) is the last day on the job for Denton Ragland, who guided the day-to-day management of the park for nearly two years through the first stage of its development and through most of its opening year. In his letter of resignation, he said he is leaving “to spend time with my family and pursue other interests.”

Patricia King-Ritter, who chairs the conservancy board, will serve as interim executive director, according to Ragland’s announcement. She has not responded to InstantNews’ request for a comment on Ragland’s departure and plans to replace him.

Ragland

“It has been my privilege to have had a leadership role in bringing the vision of Evelyn’s Park to fruition,” Ragland wrote. “I have especially enjoyed my work with the city of Bellaire and the greater community of park patrons and supporters in developing innovative programming in this unique urban green space where people connect with families, their community, and nature.”

After a decade-long effort to acquire the former Teas Nursery property at 4400 Bellaire Blvd. and develop it, the park finally opened in April 2017. It has suffered from growing pains — a struggling café, a signature Alice in Wonderland sculpture that is a year-and-a-half past its delivery date, a lack of shade, and complaints about underperforming activities programming and events bookings.

“Denton’s a real pro,” one source close to the park told Instant News. “He’s had his hands tied by certain board members who want to dictate how everything is done.”

Ragland, who worked as an attorney for 25 years, came to the conservancy with a stellar record of management with nonprofit groups including the Houston Food Bank and the United Way. As a former councilman and mayor pro tem of Hedwig Village, one of the Memorial Villages, his understanding of city government proved to be an asset both in guiding the conservancy and working with the city of Bellaire on the park’s development.

—Charlotte Aguilar

 

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