Davidson Creek Park is my favorite place in Caldwell, I enjoy taking my dogs on walks in the park and going on a nice run around the park and throughout town. Davidson Creek Park in a 95 acre park in Caldwell and is a place that is an ideal attraction for our small community.
What led you to participate within the EPIC-Network in your current capacity?
Through my Master’s program at Texas A&M University I served as the project lead in the student coursework for a Texas Target Community (TxTC) project. The City of Rockport Comprehensive Plan was a project that took place following Hurricane Harvey, and was focused on community resiliency. The project was led by TxTC, but graduate students work collaboratively on the project to develop the community engagement tools, exercises and develop the plans elements from public input. Since this project I now work for the City of Caldwell, and have partnered with Texas Target Communities to develop a Comprehensive Plan for the City of Caldwell. Having worked with TxTC staff in the past I figured this would be a great way to involve them in developing a partnership with a community close to A&M. TxTC has been an excellent partner to work with and ultimately made the connection to the EPIC-Network.
Describe your first interaction with a school community partnership project
When I was still in my undergrad program at A&M I had the opportunity to work with the City of Dickinson as an intern for a semester. During my time with the City I had the opportunity to learn all about the different concepts and processes at a local government level. Julie Robinson, the former City Administrator was my mentor while interning with the city. I learned about selfless service and how to support a community through implementing sustainable and resilient practices in the community. It was there that I realized I wanted to work in municipal government. I was able to understand the impact that local governments can have on supporting their community members. I have taken the lessons I learned from that internship and applied them to my current role with the City of Caldwell.
In what ways are you looking to engage, or work with others, either from within the EPIC-Network, or in general?
I think the best way to learn and improve our communities are through actively sharing ideas and coming up with unique innovative ways that we can better improve our communities. If there are professionals in the field that have implemented or accomplishing successful community involvement / engagement we should listen and learn from each others experiences.
What are some of the top priorities you are working on this year?
This year I am working to improve city wide processes and efficiencies to help our departments become more equipped with technology. I am also working to finalize the city’s first comprehensive plan and update the city’s development code, and infrastructure design standards. I am assisting in improving our programs and activities with the library, civic center, and main street program to develop more opportunities for our community to engage and interact and provide resources for increased education. I am working to ensure effective and transparent communication with our residents to provide data, facts, and accurate information for the public.
What are you hoping attendees will take with them after attending your presentation?
I hope that based on the presentation with Texas Target Communities and former City of Rockport Staff we will be able to show other communities and partners a great example for how communities can work together with other entities to develop well thought out and resilient plans. As our world is constantly changing it is going to be vital that we work together to provide communities with the resources and tools that they need to better serve and prepare their community to adapt to change. A majority of plans focus solely on land-use and it is important that plans include other aspects such as education, outreach, and transparency with the community. Register for the webinar featuring Forrest.
Forrest Williams graduated from Texas A&M University with his bachelors in 2017 and then went to grad school at Texas A&M and graduated with a Master’s in Urban Planning in 2019. While in his masters program he worked at Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) as a graduate assistant researcher, where I assisted in various projects related to Local Emergency Planning Committees. Forrest had internships with the City of Dickinson, Spring Valley Village, and other projects within the program such as my final project on the Downtown Bryan Master Plan. In July 2019 Forrest began working for the Town of Flower Mound as the Comprehensive Planner and then in February 2020 began working for the City of Caldwell as the Community Development Director. In his current role Forrest advances many of the city community development programs and processes, while increasing transparency and communications to the public. Recently Forrest was promoted to Administrative Services Director.
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