New public works director assessing Crockett's infrastructure, resources
Houston County Courier
By Lynda Jones
The City of Crockett's new public works director brought years of experience with her when she started her new position on Aug. 16. That's right, "she". The city's new public works director is a woman who successfully broke into a traditionally male dominated career several years ago. In fact, Kelly McChesney has not only worked for years for companies that contracted for the Texas Department of Transportation, she owned her own contracting business for about eight years. She had worked for Missouri City for three years when there was a big push for the state to use womenowned contracting companies. That is when she went into business for herself. McChesney said she has traveled all over Texas doing work for the state highway department, with her own company and with other contractors. She has done contract work for Tx- DOT, the prison system and Houston Metro. Most recently, she was working for a contractor in the Forth Worth area. McChesney said the Crockett position appealed to her because she was ready to put down roots in one place, and she loves Crockett. "Crockett's my home now," McChesney said, "I feel I can bring my experi- Photo by P. McClelland Kelly McChesney Public Works Director City of Crockett ence here." McChesney said she currently is assessing the condition of the city's infrastructure, including streets and utilities. She also is assessing the resources available to her department. Her next step, McChesney explained, will be to prioritize what needs to be done to maintain and improve the infrastructure. While going through this assessment process, the city's new public works director also is addressing maintenance issues that arise. For example, she discussed a leak that was discovered under SH 19/US 287 at Norman Lane in the northern part of the city. It's not a huge leak, McChesney said, but enough of a water leak to cause concern that it could cause erosion under the highway at that location. The plan is to bore under the highway, lay an 8" pipe alongside the existing 6" pipe, then switch the flow from the 6" pipe to the new 8" pipe. McChesney said the work will be done in this manner to minimize the amount of time nearby residents will be without water. The water supply should only will be off three or four hours, when the 6" pipe is disconnected. The project began Tuesday, Sept. 24, and McChesney will notify residents when it is time for the temporary disconnect of their water supply. She also is very proud of the Davy Crockett Memorial Park, and is trying to get groups such as the Crockett Garden Club and the Texas Forest Service to help with beautification projects in the park. McChesney likes seeing the public enjoy the park, saying she sees people fishing in the pond almost every day. On a personal note, McChesney said she loves the historic features of Crockett, including the houses and antiques. She is excited about the Davy Crockett National Forest. "I love nature and I love riding horses," she said. She also loves photography. At one time she took a break from construction to complete a degree in journalism and photography at Sam Houston State University. For a few years, she was staff photographer for the "Pasadena News Citizen", a position which gave her experience that she feels helps her in her new capacity as public works director. After covering public meetings such as city council, she saw the perspective of residents as well as city officials, she explained. Professionally, McChesney said, "One of the things I like best about my job is learning the interests and aptitudes of the employees I supervise, and helping them maximize their potential through encouragement, training and mentoring."