Mayor Don Walters Announces the Creation of the Neighborhood Excellence, Communications and Community Outreach Department; Kelli Crawford-Smith Named Director

Apr 27, 2018

Mayor Don Walters is proud to announce the creation of the Neighborhood Excellence, Communications, and Community Outreach Department. Cuyahoga Falls City Council voted to approve the department on Monday, April 23, 2018. On Friday, April 27, 2018, Mayor Walters named Kelli Crawford-Smith the Director of the new department.

“When I took office back in 2014, I promised to increase communication with residents, work to strengthen our parks and neighborhoods, identify any inefficiencies or gaps in existing departments and services, and to address them to ensure that all residents and business owners are best served by City Hall,” stated Mayor Walters. “With the creation of this department, I am doing just that by realigning and leveraging our existing resources to serve our residents more effectively and efficiently. I have consistently said that we as a city can never have enough communication, transparency, or citizen involvement”

The department will serve three important purposes: to strengthen the cohesion of community involvement through citizen engagement through the Neighborhood Excellence Initiative, increase and streamline communication efforts, and ramp up community outreach initiatives and collaborations with community support services and organizations, churches, and local schools. Existing employees will be reassigned to fill the positions to best serve the public. Through this reassignment, the city is able to leverage talents and streamline existing financial and human resources. The new department will serve as a central hub for communication to citizens that will help enhance neighborhoods, help drive economic growth and prosperity, and help promote city programs and services throughout the region. The department is being created at no additional cost to taxpayers and will be part of the Service Department.

Community Partner and Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations from Western Reserve Hospital Mark Bosko stated, “The City of Cuyahoga Falls has grown and developed to a size where a centralized communications office is a must. By allowing for the development, creation and dissemination of focused, streamlined, coordinated and consistent messaging, this new department will bring many benefits to the residents, including more robust citizen engagement and community outreach, improved media relations and the mitigation of misinformation. I look forward to seeing the positive aspects brought forth from this initiative.”

The department is the result of realigning existing employees. Kelli Crawford-Smith, the city’s current CDBG Administrator was named Director. Carrie Snyder, the current Riverfront Centre District Manager will serve as the Neighborhood Excellence and Downtown Administrator and Rebecca McCleary’s job title will be changed from Public Utilities Advocate to Public Utilities and Community Outreach Coordinator. The department will also include an Administrative Specialist.

Kelli Crawford-Smith is the CDBG/Entitlement Administrator for the City of Cuyahoga Falls. She focuses on community outreach, economic development, and housing rehabilitation. She has been working for the City of Cuyahoga Falls since March of 2015 and is responsible for managing the Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG) through grant administration. She is responsible for community event planning, developing marketing and outreach materials for city departments and programs, speechwriting, writing press releases and media communications, and writing the city newsletter. She has previously worked at Summit County Juvenile Court and the Summit County Executive’s office. She is a former member of Akron City Council where she served Ward 10. Crawford-Smith graduated with a Bachelor of Arts: Business and Organizational Communication from the University of Akron and is currently pursuing her Masters of Business Administration from Tiffin University with a concentration in Leadership with an anticipated graduation date in Spring of 2019. She is a resident of Cuyahoga Falls.

Any resident that wishes to become informed and involved in their city can become a Neighborhood Ambassador. Ambassadors help act as the eyes and ears of City Hall and can be active and involved in their neighborhood as much as possible. Ambassadors receive correspondence from the City and are invited to informational meetings throughout the year. For more information, please contact Kelli Crawford-Smith at 330.971.8140 or email Crawford-Smith@cityofcf.com.      

The department will begin work on Tuesday, May 29, 2018.