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Ward: Community Development Department Has Been A Success

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Ward: Community Development Department Has Been A Success

Some 16 months after the department’s creation, Director of Cookeville’s Community Development Department Jon Ward said the department has worked well.

Cookeville City Council voted to create the department in 2022. The council abolished the Codes Department and Planning Department, creating the new department with Codes, Planning, and Economic and Community Development Divisions. Ward said he thinks the department is accomplishing exactly what the council had hoped for when they created it.

“It’s just centrally managed, so I think there are some benefits to that,” Ward said. “Having one management arm for those three activities, which, you know, there’s always been good collaboration with the city and everything. That’s never really been an issue with any of our activities.”

Ward said he believes that the combining of the three departments has streamlined things for the city and provided citizens with improved service. He also said it has been a more cost-efficient system.

“It’s just been an incredible volume of development in the city’s history,” Ward said. “I think this past November was one of the record months we’ve seen in issuing permits for the city, you know. In just residential permits alone, we issued 63 permits.”

Ward said those November permits exceeded $14 million. Ward commended the staff for their hard work during the time of intense activity and said he feels everything has been managed well by the department since its conception.

“We’ve got good staff and they’re all willing to do their jobs and do it well,” Ward said. “I think customer service is a priority for all the folks in our department and I think they try to personify that outwardly in all of the activities they do.”

Ward said between the smooth transition when the department was made and the continued success over the busy year, there has been nothing but positives from making the switch.


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