Shawnee community development director Paul Chaffee retires after 30 years

Paul Chaffee
Mayor Michelle Distler, left, congratulated and thanked Paul Chaffee for his 30 years working for the city of Shawnee. Chaffee retires Sept. 21 as community development director. Photo credit city of Shawnee

After 30 years working in community development for the city of Shawnee, Paul Chaffee is retiring as director.

Chaffee was previously a city planner for Shawnee and has maintained the role of community development director for the past 24 years. His last day is Sept. 21.

He said he’ll remember the people with whom he had the opportunity to work, and also the many projects they tackled together.

“No two days are the same,” Chaffee said, adding that he enjoyed helping residents with questions or issues they may have. “I get to work on all different types of projects.”

Paul Chaffee
Paul Chaffee’s last day as community development director is Sept. 21. Photo by city of Shawnee

Some of Chaffee’s favorite projects have been the downtown improvements, which the city began in 2003. He also liked helping property owners with improving their homes and buildings through various grant and loan programs and other incentives.

“Eventually, it’s kind of led into our Nieman Now project, which I’m going to be excited to see finished up next year,” Chaffee said, adding that he also enjoyed working on development of Shawnee Crossings at Hilltop and Midland.

Additionally, he saw completion of the wastewater treatment plant as it spurred development out of the western side of Shawnee in the late 1990s and 2000s. But even though all of these city projects are exciting, Chaffee always enjoyed helping city folks by answering questions and helping them navigate through projects.

Though he says he will miss his community development colleagues the most, he’s going to have a hard time saying goodbye to everyone at city hall.

“Every day has been a good day,” he said.

For his next chapter, Chaffee and his wife will do some traveling and visit their daughter’s family in Austin, Texas. He’s also planning to keep exercising his certified barbecue judging skills at some contests. Chaffee also has a grandson in pre-kindergarten, so he’ll be watching him three days a week.

“Enough to keep busy and look for some volunteer opportunities; I’m sure we’ll find some along the way,” Chaffee said.

He wants to encourage Shawnee residents to continue staying involved and watch as future progress in the city happens.

“We work hard, and the residents are just good folks and care so much about their community,” he said.