P'Elizabeth Koelker hired as Grandview Heights' planning, community-development director

Alan Froman
ThisWeek group

Two years ago, Grandview Heights adopted two new strategic plans.

Mayor Greta Kearns has appointed former City Council member P'Elizabeth Koelker as the city's director of planning and community development to help guide the implementation of the goals set in those strategic plans.

P'Elizabeth Koelker

Kearns announced the appointment and council confirmed her choice Jan. 4.

Koelker began her new position Jan. 11. Her annual salary will be $170,000, and she'll be afforded benefits.

She served on council from 2004 through 2013 and has worked for a year as a consultant for the planning commission. Most recently, she was a principal and studio director with M+A Architects.

Koelker's appointment represents a "rebooting" of the position and an elevation of the job into director level, Kearns said.

The city had a development-officer position at one time, but it was not a director position, she said. The duties of that position were handled by Patrik Bowman, former director of administration/economic cevelopment, during the 16 years he had served under former mayor Ray DeGraw.

"We have a land-use plan for the city from 1997, and the older position was created to help implement that plan," Kearns said. "That was very heavily related to economic development and the need to develop what is now the Grandview Yard area and expand the tax base."

That has been accomplished, and the new position will have a new focus of implementing the goals established in the community plan and Space and Places plan as part of the city's Growing on Tradition strategic-planning initiative, she said.

"Those plans have provided a grand vision for the city's future, but there are more details that have to be spelled out for each of the broad goals they have set," Koelker said.

One of the first issues that will need attention will be planning for the development of a new municipal complex at the southeast corner of Grandview Avenue and Goodale Boulevard, she said.

"That's a goal that's been identified in the community plan, Spaces and Places and by City Council," Koelker said.

The Spaces and Places plan also identified several civic hubs around the city at which redevelopment could occur, she said.

"We have the chance to explore and determine what the best opportunities for developing those subareas will be," Koelker said.

Much of the large-scale redevelopment of brownfields on Grandview's perimeter has been completed with projects like Grandview Yard and Grandview Crossing, she said. 

Koelker has been a Grandview resident for 30 years and said she's excited to serve her community again.

"I really love the smallness of this community," she said. "I think the ability to know each other and have a conversation about what matters to us is one of the things that makes this community what it is."

The strategic-planning effort strives to "maintain the traditions we have while implementing our vision for the 21st century," Koelker said.

Koelker's previous experience on council and her experience at M+A Architects overseeing the planning and development of capital-investment projects for institutions, communities and businesses "give her the capacity to really run with this role," Kearns said. "She's really a visionary."

afroman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekAfroman