Neighborhood Services Department gets new director

Forest Decker has been appointed Director of the Neighborhood Services Department, accepting the mission to implement a new vision for the department to focus on enhancing services that improve the livability of KCMO neighborhoods, according to a press release from the City.

Decker has worked with the City for nearly 20 years, working in several departments and holding positions such as City Forester, Parks Superintendent and Environmental Manager. His professional experience outside of the City includes working for the Missouri Department of Conservation, Kansas Bioscience Authority, and Premium Standard Farms.

He graduated from Central Missouri State University with a B.S. in Biology. He also earned a Master of Business Administration from Baker University and a Master of Environmental Science from the University of Maryland.

City Manager Brian Platt said Decker, who currently serves as Deputy Director in the Public Works Department, shares his vision to build a forward-thinking department that relies on data and community-centered solutions, rather than enforcement when problems are reported.

“The new vision for the Neighborhoods Department will include more proactive and robust services and support for those things that neighborhoods need most, including beautification efforts, community building events, streetscapes, and safety,” Platt said. “This new approach will pivot away from an enforcement-first focus and will rely more on education and directly supporting the needs of neighborhoods and residents.” 

The first step toward building a new suite of services will be to engage residents and communities across the city to learn more about the greatest needs of our neighborhoods and the missing links and gaps in our services.  Watch for an announcement soon regarding listening sessions and ways to provide input to Forest and his team.

 “Our vision is to move the department towards greater collaboration with the community,” Decker said. “We’ll be supporting active, vibrant neighborhoods by focusing on neighborhood improvements rather than ticketing and enforcement as a first response. Our goal is to be helpful to neighborhoods.”

Decker has played an active role in the Northeast over the past decade, including the decision to close Cliff Drive to vehicle traffic, curbing copper theft, and implementing hours in some parks. For previous coverage of his roles, read the links below.

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