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New Jefferson City administrator prioritizes economic development


Jefferson City's new administrator said he'll prioritize the city's economic development once he takes office.

Jefferson City hired Brian Crane from another Mid-Missouri city. City officials said at a Tuesday news conference that Crane will start Monday, Sept. 25. He replaces Steve Crowell, who resigned in April.

Crane has 19 years of experience in municipal government, the city said in a release. He was chosen from a field of 39 applicants and won unanimous City Council approval. Crane is Moberly's city manager, previously served on the Jefferson City Council and was born and raised in the Capital City.

Brian Crane

Crane said he's in tune with the needs of Jefferson City and wants to prioritize the economy and housing needs.

"Obviously, the housing is a real concern right now for the community. Economic development, workforce development, all these things are things that you're hearing the council talk about and discuss. Infrastructure is going to be a serious issue in the future," Crane said.

Jefferson City Mayor Ron Fitzwater said the city's economic growth has been "flat" for the past decade, and he wants to see that change.

"Our city is going backwards," Fitzwater said. "So, I mean, we know that we've got to be a better resource for our local economic community. I want to create the platform, do the things we can do from city hall and then get out of the way."

One of the ways Fitzwater can see Crane helping with the economic growth is through creating more housing options, especially low-income housing. Fitzwater said housing needs to be available if employers want to grow their workforce.

"They've got to have places to put individuals that are moving toward community, so housing is a priority," Fitzwater said. "I'm really excited council supported a low income housing tax project in our community."

Another issue Jefferson City business owners have brought to city officials is Downtown parking. Crane said that's something the council and other officials can work together on.

"I think it's the way we approach things and hopefully between working with the city council staff, the citizens and our business and the residential community, we can achieve the solutions that will maybe not be everything that everybody wants, but hopefully we can all go away saying, 'Well, we worked our hardest,'" Crane said.

Crane said focusing on public safety can improve the quality of life for Jefferson City residents.

"People want to feel safe in their community," Crane said. "So making sure that the police department has well-trained, well-qualified employees working for it, equipment needed to carry out those tasks and make sure the citizens feel safe."

Lt. David Williams, of the Jefferson City Police Department, said the city and police have a good relationship that helps them implement new projects.

"Well, we're working on a lot of projects right now," Williams said. "You know, we've worked on our body cam system. We're about a month away from putting those into effect right now."

Since the council accepted Crowell's resignation, two people have served as interim city administrator. City Attorney Ryan Moehlman was picked initially as the acting city administrator from April 17-May 15. Jefferson City Fire Chief Matt Schofield has since taken over responsibilities.

The city immediately began a nationwide search for a permanent replacement for Crowell and hired a search committee to help the process.

Article Topic Follows: Jefferson City

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Hannah Falcon

Hannah joined the ABC 17 News Team from Houston, Texas, in June 2021. She graduated from Texas A&M University. She was editor of her school newspaper and interned with KPRC in Houston. Hannah also spent a semester in Washington, D.C., and loves political reporting.


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