City Notes: Lessons from 2020 – press forward but be flexible

Greta Kearns
City of Grandview Heights

The start of each year brings hope and excitement of what is to come. Every 365 days, we have the opportunity to turn over a new leaf and begin again. After the compounding challenges that 2020 brought worldwide, I can earnestly say I have never been more ready for a new year.

Greta Kearns

Despite the tremendous difficulties and often less-than-ideal circumstances 2020 presented us, it reminded us that we must be flexible. Goals and plans are important and admirable, but plans change. When I assumed office Jan. 1, 2020, I had a clear vision and concrete goals that I had expected to achieve. I set out to improve efficiency and service delivery, expand the city’s infrastructure, including technology, and to build on the communications function to keep our residents informed. Together with my team and with the support of City Council, we have successfully made great progress on each of those goals even in the face of a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic that forced us to reimagine how we deliver services.

As we kick off 2021, I am thrilled to introduce the city’s newly redesigned website as one achievement in 2020. Recently rolled out, it includes a fresh look consistent with the city brand, updated content with a new layout and a page dedicated to providing information for new residents. One component of the redesign I am particularly excited about is the addition of a translation tool with the ability to convert our site into many languages. In the information age, content changes rapidly, and the website will continue to be fine-tuned in the coming months to ensure we offer the best possible experience.

We also will continue to communicate using the city’s e-news alerts via text message or email. I invite all residents to sign up for our e-news alerts by going to grandviewheights.gov, selecting “Text & Email Alerts” and opting in to “Grandview Heights Information” to receive important city information by email or text message.  

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With all of the optimism and hope that this year will be brighter and happier, I would be remiss to not acknowledge the pandemic is not over. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we are not yet in the clear. Members of our community are grieving the loss of loved ones, adjusting to changes in employment, attending work and school from home and are unable to gather with loved ones. Although we hope to bring back some beloved community traditions, we will make those decisions on a case-by-case basis in consultation with our public health professionals. One lesson to be derived from my first year as mayor is that we have to be willing to adjust to circumstances beyond our control while doing what is within our power to make the best of it.

I wish a safe and prosperous new year to each of you.

Greta M. Kearns is mayor of Grandview Heights.