By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ
COOKEVILLE –The city of Cookeville has named John Ward as the next director of planning effective Oct.1.
Ward has more than 14 years of experience in planning and economic and community development. He served as assistant director of the Planning Department since 2016 and worked for the state of Tennessee as a regional planner before joining the city.
Ward has served as interim planning director since March. He replaces James Mills, who became Cookeville’s new city manager earlier this year.
“Jon’s extensive knowledge and experience in planning and community development at the local and state level will be a huge asset to the city of Cookeville,” Mills said. “He possesses the skills and abilities to continue to guide the growth of Cookeville. As interim director the last few months, he has proven his capability to serve and lead the department.”
“At last month’s planning commission, we had a higher density single-family detached development that was approved by the commission. It’s pending the proposed amendments to the zoning code. That will be a significant development, and I’m looking forward to seeing how that works out,” said Ward. “We have the commercial development that was approved, Scenic Drive to Interstate Drive. That’s opening up a lot of traffic in a very high traffic area. We are really excited about the opportunities up there.”
Ward has a political science degree from Tennessee Tech and has lived in Cookeville since 1994. He is a certified planner with the American Institute of Certified Planners.
“I look forward to serving our employees and citizens and working with the various boards and commissions,” Ward said.“James has done a good job establishing a strong planning department and culture in this city, and I hope to be able to continue that.”