This year marks 100 years of water utilities in the city and Mansfield Water Utilities is making it a community-wide party.
“Ultimately, we are here to serve the community and we wanted to use this birthday as a way to engage with the very people we work for 365 days a year, 24 hours a day” said Jeff Price, director of Mansfield Water Utilities.
The festivities will kick off on Sept. 21 at The Lot during Historic Downtown Mansfield’s Third Thursday event. Water Utilities employees will be manning several different life-size games designed to be fun to play and entertaining to watch.
“We really wanted to incorporate the feel of an old-school birthday party, but with the life-sized twist that has made these classic games go viral lately” said Arianne Shipley, public education specialist. “I mean, who doesn’t want to play life-sized Hungry Hungry Hippos, Battleship or Angry Birds?”
Residents can expect to have fun and learn a thing or two. Each game has been adapted to have a water or environmental-related education theme.
“We’re the public educators for water and environmental, so we couldn’t let you off the hook that easy. We had to throw some education in the mix” said Stephanie Zavala, public education specialist. “For example, instead of being hungry hippos, you may be water-conserving residents grabbing raindrops to put in your rain barrel.”
The birthday fever has spread across the water utilities division, and employees came in early before work hours to brainstorm each game. Each employee team is responsible for implementing and manning their assigned game at the birthday party.
“Our public educators do a great job telling our story,” said Alex Whiteway, field operations superintendent. “I’ve noticed it in the field with my crews. They’ve taught us that we are the face of the water utilities division to the public. So this gives us another way to be out in the field with residents.”
The theme for September’s Third Thursday event is “The Sum of Our Parts” and water definitely plays a significant part of our community, Price said.
“I think for some reason a barrier gets between a government entity and the people they serve,” he said. “Events like this help break that down and put us face-to-face with our residents. Yes, our primary function is water treatment and distribution, but we also want to be a resource and a trusted ally for our residents. That only comes from putting ourselves out there and building those relationships, one person at a time.”