Changes on 3rd floor at City Hall

By: 
CAROLYN DRYER, Editor

City Manager Jeff Tyne

Although Jeff Tyne was not singing “You’ll see some changes made,” when he was selected as city manager last year, he has taken a few steps toward reorganization of Peoria City Hall.

First, there was the hiring of Marylou Stephens as the city’s arts and theater manager. She oversees the city’s public arts program and works with the management staff of the Peoria Center for Performing Arts, Theater Works.

Stephens helped city staff draw up the extended agreement that was signed just last month between Theater Works and the city.

During budget talks this past spring, City Council heard Tyne talk about breaking off certain areas from the police and community services department and creating a separate department. That action took place just the past couple of weeks, when Chris Hallett became the city’s neighborhood and human services director. Code compliance has been moved to that department, along with neighborhood revitalization and preservation, property maintenance and community engagement.

Tyne credited the “vision and thought” council had exhibited and it is a “really good department,” and addresses ways to help specific Peoria community needs in a holistic approach.

Although one part of the community services department piece has been removed, director John Sefton still has major components left, such as neighborhood parks and recreation. In addition, Sefton still must oversee two major community parks, all open space and the trail system, the library system, aquatics and Peoria Sports Complex.

About six months ago, Tyne made a significant change in the area of economic development. It came at the time of budget talks. Out of those talks, Tyne said he realized after consulting with Economic Development Services Director Scott Whyte that Whyte’s interest and forte is real estate development. And, Tyne said, that focus is in Peoria. Thus, Whyte is now the city’s real estate development officer, who reports directly to Tyne and works with all city departments.

“We are having him specialize in an area that is Peoria specific,” Tyne said.

Tyne said it is important that the two parcels the city recently purchased on the west side of 83rd Avenue south of the P83 entertainment district and Skunk Creek be “positioned for success.” He said Whyte is now working with experts to get the property zoned correctly.

Tyne said Whyte’s new position does not take away from the efforts of the economic development department. The city has already posted the job opening for a new economic development services director on its own website and in other publications.

For now, Tyne pointed to five areas Whyte is focused on this year.

Along with the two aforementioned P83 parcels is the Vistancia Commercial Corridor along Loop 303; Happy Valley Road and 83rd Avenue; Peoria Place (the acreage east of City Hall between Cotton Crossing and 83rd Avenue); and Old Town. Tyne said a team is now working on Old Town “to make sure we position ourselves,” again, correctly.

At this time, the city is pursuing placemaking for Old Town to concentrate on making it an artistic environment.

“If there is an interested partner, Scott Whyte will help get zoning,” Tyne said. “The Edwards Hotel is one of the good things, though it seems like the excitement is different from the past.”

Another move has been made within Tyne’s own department. Tyne’s assistant, Dawn Prince, is now manager of the family and youth services division within the neighborhood and human services department.

Prince oversees all before- and after-school programs, youth programs and the community center, where various activities take place, including senior programs.

Kelli Kincaid, who is the former manager of youth and family services, has been named the deputy director of the neighborhood and human services department.

The Glendale Star

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Peoria Times

Peoria Times
7122 N. 59th Ave
Glendale, AZ 85301-2436
Ph: (623) 842-6000
Fax: (623) 842-6013

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