Shawnee City Commission has approved Justin DeBruin as community development director, a position vacant since former director Justin Erickson became city manager.

Shawnee City Commission has approved Justin DeBruin as community development director, a position vacant since former director Justin Erickson became city manager.

Erickson noted DeBruin has served the city since 2013 and began as the assistant city planner. January 1, DeBruin took on increased duties as planning manager.

In May, Shawnee City Commission voted unanimously to name Justin Erickson city manager.

Erickson had served as community development director since 2008 and interim city manger since January, when former city manager Brian McDougal accepted a position in Texas.

DeBruin has a Master’s Degree in Regional and City

Planning from the University of Oklahoma. He and his wife moved to Shawnee two years ago.

“I fell in love with Shawnee as a whole,” DeBruin said.

On what projects he is eager to address, the new director expressed enthusiasm for the Bryan Street trail.

“It’s a huge project I’m excited about,” he said, adding the Shawnee Downtown Streetscape project also fulfills his time.

DeBruin said he looks forward to community growth.

“Just improving prospects for development to come to Shawnee, to increase our sales tax base,” he explained.

He measured the impact of the Shawnee Marketplace’s phase one roster, which includes Ulta, Hobby Lobby, PetSmart, T.J.Maxx, Aldi and Famous Footwear.

“It’s certainly looking to be a success. [For] phase two… I’d love to see some competitive retailers,” DeBruin said.

DeBruin acknowledged his ongoing research relating to Shawnee’s Comprehensive Plan, a guide for the city’s future, and subdivision regulations, which direct development within the city.

“Since they’ve been overdue, I’d like to tackle getting those plans updated,” he said.

DeBruin added he most looks forward to “continuing work that’s already been great so far” and actively seeking grants and funding.