Special Improvement Districts (SIDs) get in the weeds–sometimes literally, pulling dandelions and planting flowers. SIDs also keep things spiffy and safe, working on things like power washing sidewalks, offering to walk someone to their car or bus after
a late night or helping someone who is down on their luck. And they solve all kinds of other problems for property owners, who pay for services through property assessments.
If you ask Cleve what makes for a great city, you’ll hear about urban density, a robust transit system and walkable, mixed-use development. Working in urban revitalization isn’t just Cleve’s career, it’s his passion. He’s been the executive director of both Capital Crossroads and Discovery SIDs since they formed. He leads a small, but mighty team of other city lovers, as they work on public-realm projects, capital improvements and marketing services for Downtown. And in his spare time, he checks out other cities to see how they’re getting stuff done. Cleve is a licensed attorney, receiving his law degree from Capital Law School—right downtown.
Fun fact: Being an urbanite is in Cleve’s blood—he’s lived 56 of his 64 years without a car.
Director of Strategic Initiatives
Kacey started at the SID in 2006, and her entrepreneurial spirit is a perfect fit for getting special projects up and running. During her tenure, she developed a retail recruitment program that is helping bring retail back downtown. As part of that, she’s worked with the Gay Street Collaborative on POP Columbus, Downtown’s pop-up retail shop. Now, she’s working on a transit pass program, which will provide free bus passes to Downtown workers within the Capital Crossroads SID. Kacey graduated from the University of Vermont with a bachelor’s focusing in psychology, community development and applied economics.
Fun Fact: She played soccer in college, and now cheers for the Columbus Crew—with an Ohio craft brew in hand—alongside her husband and two kids.
Director of Engagement
Engagement is what it’s all about with Michelle. She meets with Downtown business owners to figure out the best way for them to get involved. Whether companies are interested in special events, sponsorship or business membership, Michelle shares her passion about Downtown as she develops ways for companies to get connected. She’s also a wiz at grant writing, which comes in handy at the SID. She’s an Ohio University Bobcat with a degree in communications, and she is a graduate of the Leadership Columbus program.
Fun Fact: Michelle and her husband left the burbs a few years back, and now she lives just down the street from Capital Crossroads and Discovery SIDs.
Deputy Director of Research, Planning & Facilities
Marc is king of all things research, and if you have a question about urban planning or environmental policy, he’s your go-to guy. He tracks all kinds of data about Downtown and analyzes the impact of revitalization projects. He also manages capital improvement projects in the Downtown right-of-way. Marc earned a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s in critical cultural studies, both from The Ohio State University.
Fun Fact: Marc plays the drums with Available Light Theatre and the Capital Pride Band of Columbus.
Deputy Director of Operations & Advocacy
Lisa and Cleve were the very first employees of the SID so Lisa built the clean and safe program from the ground up. She also oversees an award-winning security network that links the public and private sectors in real time to make sure that Downtown remains one of the safest areas of the city. As if that’s not enough, she manages the SID’s homeless outreach program, too. Lisa has a bachelor’s in sociology from the College of Wooster and a master’s in urban planning, development and design from Cleveland State University.
Fun Fact: Lisa is an avid gardener and a runner. She enjoys community fun-runs with her 8-year-old daughter, and her husband cheers them on.
Melissa is a creative problem solver with more than 20 years of public relations and marketing experience. She develops communications strategies, oversees media relations and digital communications, crafts promotional materials, and even takes a few photos here and there. She also consults with new business owners to develop social media content. Melissa has a bachelor’s in journalism from Franklin College (Indiana) and a master of fine art in creative writing from the Queens University of Charlotte.
Fun Fact: Melissa is a published writer. When she’s not playing with words, she’s watching the bald eagles fly over her house.
Cass handles all kinds of administrative details from supplies and mailings to reports and board meetings to make sure things run smoothly. She also manages our Downtown welcome program, delivering branded bags—chocked full of freebies—to new residents and businesses. In addition, she’s the SID liaison for projects, like the Discovery Placemaking Plan and Pearl and Lynn Alley improvements. Cass has a bachelor’s in communications from Ohio University and a master’s in political science from the University of Akron.
Fun Fact: Cass rides her bike to work whenever she can, and in her spare time, you’ll find her spending time with her family, running, reading or planning her next scuba trip.
Pearl Market Manager
Dustin, the big tomato to you, manages Pearl Market—the Downtown farmers’ and merchants’ market in Lynn and Pearl Alleys. The pop-up market is no small feat to pull off twice a week, June through October, and Dustin makes sure that it’s an event that Downtowners return to week after week. Dustin has a bachelor’s degree in French and History from Catawba College (North Carolina).
Fun Fact: He and his husband spend all their spare time—and then some—corralling their three children (all under four) and their four dogs.