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Planner Profile: Wade Broadhead

Name: Wade Broadehead, AICP

Title: Planning Director

Company/Employer: City of Florence

Tells us a little about yourself professionally.
Working in Florence CO 3,800 I don’t wear many hats: I’m the hat rack. From development, to preservation, to FEMA, ADA, public works planner, party planner, grant writer I had to learn so much more than I’d ever done before. We now have a ½ time planner assistant which helps as we are now focused on a rural reshoring redevelopment which is reutilizing a large historic school for tech jobs. I’ve also learned that outdated code and obstinate planners often slow or stop positive change because we’ve been receiving ‘development review refugees’ in Florence from surrounding communities bringing lots of jobs. We take an entrepreneurial approach where if a project meets the city’s vision (master plan updated in 2017) we do our best to make it work. I also serve on APA’s Youth in Planning Committee where we are working to incorporate planning with children and school districts, another passion of mine. It’s just really fun to work in a place so small that citizens can lodge a complaint Monday and we can have a response or a fix by Wednesday.

Tell us how you got into planning.
I came to planning the Magellan way, via a widely circuitous route from Archaeology and GIS. I always loved building cities and in sand and mud and later on a computer screen but first I went into Geology and Archaeology at Western State College in Gunnison from my boyhood home in suburban Chicago. The ability to relate to the people you are working for and have a direct positive effect on your community far outweighed any reward from archaeology (though it was still cool!). I taught myself the fundamentals of planning with the help of some Denver coworkers and applied to be a planner in Pueblo.

Tell us a little about yourself outside of planning.
I’m not always on a mountain or the slopes, I love cities, breweries and architecture! I’m usually in Colorado Springs or Denver playing board games, or enjoying Florence/Canon City or the neighborhood bars in Pueblo. I love Art and literature so I’m often reading or at a show. I’m also a trainer for the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions (NAPC) so 3-5 times a year I get flown around the country to mentor regions on good preservation practice. I’m very lucky and I really enjoy finding that we’re all the same and also a little different. I’m a single dad of 4 kids so every other weekend that keeps me pretty occupied but now I’m taking them on hikes to secret canyons in Southern Colorado to get my Colorado street credentials back.

Who is your planning hero or role model?
Jim Munch, past Pueblo Planning Director. He had the vision to get the Riverwalk done when nobody believed in it. Jim also spent so many hours on the phone with congressmen, state senators, as well as having lunch with local artists, community leaders, and citizens so he always had a beat on the city (you learn a lot when your cube is next to the Directors).
 

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