In the fall of 2021, I was part of a class of approximately 25 individuals that graduated from the Citizens Academy of Woodland Park. I cannot express enough positive feedback about what good use of time this endeavor is.
Because of increased interest there are now two Citizen Academy sessions yearly, consisting of seven scheduled segments. The session environment is fun and gives you an opportunity to meet other residents and full of practical information about what makes the city run.
Prior to the Citizens Academy, I had a need to know working knowledge of several departments of the city. However, I did not fully understand things like where my water comes from when I go to fill a nice clear and tasty glass from the tap, who runs the police department, where are you taken at the police department for a breathalyzer test (that will get your attention), or what makes the Parks and Rec programs go.
If you live in Woodland Park and want to understand how the city of Woodland Park works for its population, or if you make your living in Woodland Park, or possibly have interest in running for public office, the Citizens Academy is the place for you! Upon graduation you will appear incredibly well-informed to your friends and become a useful local expert about Woodland Park.
The academy’s seven segments are approximately two hours in length and are generally presented in this order:
Local Government 101 — Everything from city administration to the role of the mayor, city council and city clerk
Parks and Recreation — You know we have a fabulous pool, right? We also have a full-service city owned event center with the Ute Pass Cultural Center
Police Department — Yes, Woodland Park employs its own law enforcement
Water — Ever think about where your drinking water comes from and why it’s drinkable?
Wastewater — Oh, no one wants to think about this. But it is so important to our sanitary services.
Planning, Zoning and Building — What if you want to build a fence or an addition? Can you, and where to start?
Public Works — Think roads, water and sewer lines, backhoe and trucks. Fun stuff to know about!
Each of the segments is taught by a well-qualified department head who is not only knowledgeable and informative, but also truly passionate about their job and their department. In addition to classroom instruction, you will have the opportunity to visit city facilities like the water treatment plant. Here you will see raw water from the Home Stake Water Line and city owned wells and storage where its tested, treated and made available to the public through the city water supply.
Another facility visited during one of the sessions is Public Works, where you will get a chance to see the equipment used to maintain streets, water and sewer lines buried beneath the streets of Woodland Park. If you have every wanted to see what its like to sit in the driver’s seat of the giant snowplows of Woodland Park, here’s your chance. It gives you a new appreciation of the skills and care that need to be exercised by every snowplow driver. You will gain a better understanding of what it takes to have the right equipment on hand and maintenance of the equipment, so it’s always ready when needed.
Again, the department heads are really what makes these actions happen in an orderly and efficient …….