Street Beat: City of Plano uses YouTube to keep residents up-to-speed on what’s new

Photography by Kathy Tran

What’s the best way to learn about Plano?

Try “Stoler on the Street,” the city’s latest attempt to educate residents about all sorts of things around town.

Steve Stoler, Plano’s director of media operations, recently launched “Stoler on the Street,” a YouTube series designed to promote the city and educate residents. 

It’s also a way to have a little fun for Stoler, who spent three decades as a television reporter for KDFW and WFAA prior to joining the city.

“I love doing it because it lets me use just a tiny bit of creativity,” he says.

City Manager Mark Israelson came up with the idea, thinking it would be a great way to conversationally explain municipal topics. 

Before embarking on the project, Stoler met with the directors of various city departments to build a list of more than 150 potential subjects.

And that list keeps growing. From explaining city services to highlighting area amenities and promoting upcoming events, Stoler says topics can include just about anything.

“The thing is that so many people who live here have no idea what this city provides,” he says.

Even Israelson has learned a few things about Plano from Stoler’s videos. The city manager didn’t know what certain city trails include until he watched the Aug. 31 installment of the video series.

Stoler says his favorite episode of “Stoler on the Street” highlighted Plano park land.

The video begins with a view of New York’s Central Park, with Stoler talking about the iconic park in Manhattan before abruptly cutting to Plano, when he talks about how our two nature preserves, Oak Point and Arbor Hills, actually have more acreage than the famous New York City park.

Another favorite: Stoler recently visited a Plano water tower to highlight its annual inspection. Many people don’t know each tower is inspected annually for structural integrity and sediment buildup. As part of the process, a contractor climbs the tower and deploys a small remote control device with a camera. Another member of the contractor team maneuvers the device with a video game-style controller while watching video of the inspection on-screen. The information is saved to report back to city staff.

Stoler says his goal is to produce two videos each week. Over the past couple of months, he has discussed everything from ongoing library repairs and recreation center costs to animal adoption and pool repair. He says there’s no telling where he might pop up next.

 “I have a lot of fun doing these, and it gets me out of the office, too,” he says.

You can find “Stoler on the Street” on YouTube. If you have ideas for video topics, email Stoler at stevest@plano.gov.

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