National Public Works Week in California

By the time this issue of the APWA Reporter hits your mailbox, there will only be a couple of weeks left until National Public Works Week, this year held May 15-21. National Public Works Week is your best opportunity to inform the public about how public works professionals contribute to everyone's health, safety, and comfort. The 2005 theme is "Public Works Is Everywhere You Look."

As you finalize your plans for this year's celebration/promotion of National Public Works Week, keep in mind the following objectives which have stood the test of time since APWA launched this "major public education program" in 1960:

  • To increase citizens' understanding of public works—the problems encountered, the labor required, and the importance of this governmental service to the current well-being and future progress of our communities, states, provinces and nations.

  • To inspire excellence and dedication in public service by recognizing outstanding contributions of individual public works officials.

  • To encourage talented young people to prepare for careers in public works, and to acquaint them with the challenges and opportunities in the field.
On the next couple of pages you'll see how various agencies in California celebrated and promoted National Public Works Week last year and what they are planning to do this year, beginning with:

  El Cerrito residents at the 2004 Public Works Open House

City of El Cerrito (submitted by Bruce King, Maintenance Manager, City of El Cerrito)
The City of El Cerrito will be hosting its third Public Works Open House this year on Wednesday, May 18, to coincide with National Public Works Week. The City's Public Works Department and our local sanitary sewer district, Stege Sanitary, will again be inviting the public to come up to our Corporation Yard to see displays of public works equipment and exhibits, talk with the public works staff, and see demonstrations of various techniques and services that public works personnel perform every day for the residents of El Cerrito.

As we have done in the past, the City provides deli sandwiches and cold drinks, conducts a free raffle of gift certificates and merchandise donated by local merchants, and distributes free information on the City's recycling program, NPDES Clean Water program and special services available from the Public Works Department. The City also partners with a number of our local utility providers that perform work on City streets such as Pacific Gas and Electric, East Bay Municipal Utility District, Contra Costa County Public Works, and the State Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and invites them to set up their maintenance equipment and displays for the public to see and ask questions about.

Last year's attendance at our Open House event drew between 150 and 160 local residents.

City of Carlsbad (submitted by Deborah Lea, Public Works Administration, City of Carlsbad)
On May 19, 2004, the City of Carlsbad Public Works Department celebrated National Public Works Week by hosting a Public Works Fair to show off the various divisions within the department. The Fair included educational booths and a variety of equipment used within the department. Divisions and programs represented at the Fair included Engineering, Fleet, Parks, Trees & Medians, Stormwater Protection, Streets, Water Conservation and Water & Sewer Operations.

Visitors had the opportunity to see and learn about the variety of public works activities that take place on a daily basis. Each department had staff available to answer questions and explain his or her role to visitors. Activities at the Fair ranged from watershed model presentations to traffic signal and sewer line video demonstrations. There were handouts at each table including stickers, pens and pencils, coloring books and construction hats.

The fair was a complete success! Nearly 500 Carlsbad residents, library patrons, City employees and school children from Carlsbad Unified School District attended the Fair. The City received many positive comments about the displays, vehicle demonstrations, and of course, the giveaways!

Here are some of the activities planned for the upcoming 2005 Public Works Fair:

  • Vehicle Demonstrations: Kids can climb on the equipment, take pictures and learn about what the Public Works Department uses on a daily basis.

  • Tables and Displays: Residents can participate in activities and experiments from various Public Works Departments (how water pipelines work, utility maintenance, etc.).

  • Story Time: Children will hear stories told on big trucks, construction sites, water and other Public Works Department responsibilities.

  • Gift bags for the kids with pencils, badges, coloring books, construction hats, etc.

  • Local utility companies come out and display their equipment.

  • Various activities for kids such as decorating recycled bricks with colored glass or other recycled materials, mascots, equipment naming contests, etc.

  • Carlsbad City honors citizens and employees that play a big role in cleaning up the environment.

City of Daly City (submitted by Vicky Feng, Public Works Department, City of Daly City)
The City of Daly City is the largest city in the San Mateo County with a population of about 105,000. During the week of May 15-21, 2005, Daly City's Director of Public Works, D. Peter Gleichenhaus, will lead the celebration of National Public Works Week. The activities planned for this year are as follows:

  • Proclamation: Mayor Carol Klatt and City Council to issue Proclamation recognizing National Public Works Week.

  • Presentation of award: To recognize the 2005 Public Works Employee of the Year.

  • Equipment Show and Tell: Display vehicles, trucks, and equipment at two of Daly City's elementary schools to educate students about public works.

  • Staff Appreciation Picnic: To celebrate the contributions of Daly City Public Works employees.

  • Public education: Provide guest speakers to the community on "West Nile Virus and Mosquito and Vector Control."

  • Announcements: Display posters and banners in City Hall and other City facilities, coordinate posting of electronic messages at major shopping centers and on local television channel, publish articles in city publications, and provide information on the City's website.

National Public Works Week 2004 in Daly City was celebrated with a host of exciting activities that included the following:

  • Presented the 2004 Employee of the Year Award to a Daly City Dept. of Public Works staff member—Chung C. Chiu, Senior Custodian.

  • Brought an Equipment Show and Tell to two of Daly City's elementary schools. The students were able to view the vehicles that are used in the daily operations and met a few of the Public Works staff members that were onsite to provide information.

  • Led a multi-agency cleanup crew for the Wilshire Trail, an underutilized bike and walkway that connects Daly City and San Francisco. The project included a collaborative team consisting of the City of Daly City's Dept. of Public Works, Dept. of Parks and Recreation, Police Department, State of California Dept. of Transportation, City and County of San Francisco, San Francisco Golf Club, and PG&E.

  • Held a staff appreciation picnic to celebrate all of the hard work produced by Public Works Department employees. The event included a great BBQ lunch, games, prizes, sports, and souvenir gifts for each staff member.