Marchand wants to `walk side-by-side with neighbors’

Joshua Baethge,
The Anna-Melissa Tribune
Anna Neighborhood Services Director Marc Marchand previously was the recreation and lifelong learning director for the city of Burleson.

ANNA - Neighborhood Services Director Marc Marchand says taking a job in Anna was a no-brainer for him.

The city-government veteran had been paying attention to the area and wanted to be a part of it.

“It’s just a great community and there is so much potential here,” he said. “There’s a great vision that’s been developed here with real sold leadership, and the community seems to have really bought into that identity.”

Marchand originally hails from the Longview area in East Texas. His parents still have a family farm in nearby Carthage. He says that coming from a smaller rural area instilled in him the importance of building community and maintaining that identity.

In the mid 1990s, his career brought him North Texas. He worked for the city of Arlington in multiple library services roles. During that time, he strove to engage residents on the neighborhood level even as giant facilities like AT&T Stadium were being built.

Most recently, Marchand served as the city of Burleson’s Recreation and Lifelong Learning Director, putting him over both the Parks and Recreation Department and the Public Library.

He is also an accomplished public speaker who often trains other city workers on how to better reach their residents.

“My passion is community in engagement,” he said. “I’m a hand-shaker and a hugger, which is kind of weird during COVID.”

Marchand says that in his mind, Neighborhood Services is where community is created. He wants his team to be known as the group that will answer the phone on the first ring.

They are the ones who will have a glass of tea with you on your porch and talk about your neighborhood, what you want from the city and your hopes for the future.

“Policies are created to serve people, not prevent them from being served,” he said. “For example, if you look at code enforcement, the goal is not to issue citations. It’s to build a wonderful safe community for everyone.”

Marchand says that code enforcement is a great way to learn what the needs are in the community. Overgrown grass may be a sign that a family is struggling or that an elderly person needs some help.

Whatever the case, he says his goal is to ultimately ensure that no neighbors are left behind.

To that end, he hopes to expand youth activities to ensure that kids have plenty of outlets that both enrich their lives and keep them out of trouble.

He’s also meeting with other community leaders and organizations to hopefully lay the groundwork for more community events as well as a public library somewhere down the road.

While he may be settled in at work, Marchand and his family are still looking for a home in the area.

He has three daughters who are all musically gifted. The entire family enjoys playing music together and partaking in outdoor activities like hiking, camping and astronomy.

They grow their own food and raise chickens and rabbits. They also enjoy traditional arts and crafts like soap making. Marchand even makes his own brooms.

He says some of the greatest joy his family gets is learning something new and then sharing it with others.

As for his new gig with the city, he is excited to be a part of the team. He hopes that his team will become the face of local government as neighbors get to know them better.

“We want to respond quickly, walk side-by-side with neighbors and build community through the department,” he said.