Stephanie Peterson, who currently serves as Executive Director of the Flint Hills Metropolitan Planning Organization, has been hired as Manhattan’s new Director of Community Development, with an anticipated start date of May 9.
Peterson replaces former Community Development Director Eric Cattell, who retired earlier this month. She will oversee the City’s Community Development Department, which administers different aspects of development, land subdivision, long-range and current planning, and housing and zoning within the City of Manhattan.
“We are pleased to have Stephanie join our team,” Fehr said. “She has done a great job of leading the Metropolitan Planning Organization for our area and has established key relationships with other governmental units, as well as community stakeholders and residents. Her knowledge of and experience with our organization, along with her professional leadership on a statewide level with the Kansas Chapter of the American Planning Association, will serve her well as our Director of Community Development.”
Under the direction of the Deputy City Manager, the Director of Community Development oversees current planning, zoning and floodplain administration; comprehensive and neighborhood planning; bicycle and pedestrian planning; Census, demographic and growth monitoring/projections; historic preservation; and grant writing and administration efforts involving Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG).
“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work alongside the dedicated and talented people within City Hall and to serve the Manhattan community,” Peterson said. “I look forward to being a part of our City’s future endeavors and continuing to call Manhattan home.”
Peterson joined the Flint Hills Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) as Transportation Planner in May 2013, shortly after its designation by the State of Kansas. The MPO is the designated entity to provide regional transportation planning and programming services across portions of Geary, Pottawatomie, and Riley counties. It provides a regional forum to coordinate, encourage, and promote a safe, efficient, affordable, and integrated transportation system for all users, in support of livable communities and economic competitiveness.
At both the local and regional scale, the MPO places special emphasis on providing equal access to a variety of transportation modes, including transit, bicycling, walking, vehicles, and freight. As the City’s Community Development Director, Peterson will serve as a voting member of the Flint Hills MPO’s Technical Advisory Committee.
Prior to working for the MPO, Peterson was a Transportation Planner for the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), where she served in both a partnership and oversight role for Kansas’ Metropolitan Planning Organizations. While at KDOT, she also served as project manager for numerous statewide projects and corridor plans.
A Kansas native, Peterson attended Kansas State University, where she received a master’s degree in regional and community planning and a bachelor of science degree in social sciences, with a minor in leadership programs and studies. She was a community development intern with the City of Manhattan while in graduate school and for a short period of time after graduation, for a total of a year and a half.
After graduating from K-State, Peterson moved to Topeka to take a position with KDOT. Several years later, she had the opportunity to return to Manhattan, where she and her husband are raising their four sons.
Peterson also is involved actively with the Kansas Chapter of the American Planning Association (KS-APA), currently serving her second term as vice president. She also served as secretary for the Chapter from 2012 to 2016. She has been a member of the Konza Rotary Club since 2016.
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