Jeff Boers wasn’t quite familiar with Roy before he received a call in 2008 about helping with a potential new subdivision in the city.
“I knew it had a rodeo. I knew it was next to the base. I’d driven through it, but that was about it,” he said of Roy.
Fast forward 15 years, and Boers is approaching his retirement from serving as Roy’s city planner. Coincidentally, his decision to retire came months before the 77-lot detached single family subdivision for the Oakview Preliminary Plat project, located on 292nd Street South, was approved this spring.
Although Boers resides in Tacoma, the city that he was once largely unfamiliar with became more than a workplace for him. He grew to care about Roy and was driven to help it grow. He even said he considered retiring from Roy sooner, but he wanted to see the residential project through to completion.
“It’s going to add hundreds of people to the community,” Boers said of the project. “It’s a single-family development that will be far and away the largest that the city would have seen in many decades.”
When he received the call to work for Roy, Boers was in the midst of a three-year hiatus from full-time planning to be a stay-at-home father. He worked sporadically as a consultant in Tacoma as well as for other clients at the time. This hiatus succeeded a 13-year career in Fircrest as a planner and building director.
“I think somebody in Pierce County knew that I’d be happy to do a little bit of consulting work, and so they told me that Roy was looking for somebody,” he said. “So I came out here and immediately started working. It was neat to get to know people here and I quickly felt that this was gonna be a good opportunity.”
Boers dreamed of serving his community from a young age, growing up in a small town in Illinois. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University in geography and environmental planning and earned his master’s degree from Oregon State University in geography and resource planning. His career began in Jefferson County, Oregon, before stints in Alameda, California, Fircrest, Tacoma, and eventually Roy.
As his career winds down, Boers said he is most proud of helping Roy adopt its comprehensive plan in 2015, as well as helping the subdivision project get off the ground. He does not have a set final day of work, but he said he will likely stick around through the remainder of the calendar year to field questions from city staff, homeowners and potential developers.
“If they bring somebody in before that time, it’d be great for me to step away from it,” he said. “But I will probably continue to have a relationship just because there’s always somebody with a question, and because I’ve been here for 15 years, there’s institutional knowledge, and sometimes my memory works and I can help them with that.”
Upon retirement, Boers plans to visit the last of his United States checklist: Alaska, Hawaii, Delaware and Oklahoma. He hopes to visit Europe and spend time hiking, cross-country skiing, kayaking, camping and completing house projects.
Even with a busy retirement schedule, he vows to visit Roy to see the development of a city he said is poised for continued growth.
“I will undoubtedly come back to Roy because I will want to see what changes in the community over time, whether it’s on projects that I had a hand in or other changes,” he said. “It’s poised to grow in a couple of ways. One is simply because we finally have the preliminary plat approval for the subdivision. Then you’ve got some people here in the city who really want to tackle the highway corridor across the street.
“There’s such incredible opportunity there to turn that into something that maybe has some economic value to the community. It can become more of a central gathering place for community residents and area residents,” Boers added. “So if that could be accomplished here in the years to come, that has the potential to reinvigorate the opposite side of the highway where we are. There’s enough traffic coming through town of potential economic activity that this could be more of a vibrant community.”
At the tail end of his career, Boers said he will miss working with the staff at Roy City Hall and members of the community.
“It’s meant a lot to me to be here working with all those people and trying to plan for a better future and stronger community,” he said. “I’ve been touched by the experience of working with those individuals.”