Clean & Safe: A Q&A with Director of Security & Urban Space Kelli McCrary

Photo by Jon Alexander

The fields of safety and cleanliness are commonplace topics among decision makers for any major city. With so many people utilizing the space, how do organizations serve the public best in regard to maintaining the appearance and protecting the citizens? St. Louis native Kelli McCrary is tasked with that ongoing question.

McCrary, the new Director of Security & Urban Space for Downtown STL, Inc., is a long-time security enforcement professional who shifted her focus to Downtown this July. We sat down with McCrary to discuss safety, security, green spaces and new development.

Tell us a little about Downtown STL, Inc.

Kelli McCrary: Downtown STL, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that is assisting the city of St. Louis residents and businesses in the Downtown footprint to make Downtown a more economical and viable area. We are supplementing the city services, like beautification and clean streets. We’re working directly in assisting the St. Louis Police Department in public safety with making Downtown a safer place to live.

What is the greater vision?

Kelli McCary: The greater vision is to ensure we are an economically viable, attractive Downtown. We are a place people want to come and visit, live, and invest in. If you have a strong Downtown you have a strong St. Louis region, and that’s the main goal.

What plans have you and the team of Downtown STL, Inc. taken to ensure our Downtown area is a safer, cleaner, and greener space?

Kellie McCrary: Before I started with Downtown STL, Inc., they had a Director of Urban Space work directly with the city of St. Louis Police Department to identify strategies to make St. Louis city safer, and I’m here to continue that work. I am a proactive leader in how to approach safety in a way that is efficient and effective. I think we need to be out there, visible and present using the latest technologies and using best practices to make a difference.

How has the ‘Clean Team’ contributed to the goal of Downtown STL, Inc.’s cleaner and greener space?

Kelli McCrary: The ‘clean team’ has been here as long as Downtown STL, Inc. has been around; they have been a part of the city since the early 2000’s. I’m very proud to say most of our team members and supervisors are eight to 10 year employees. They take great value in the work they do, and we love they work they do. We have 10 members on the Clean Team…They’re the ambassadors for Downtown STL, Inc. We also have an arborist for our beautification team. She works with nurseries to ensure our Downtown is looking beautiful.

What are some of the new projects you and Downtown STL, Inc. are working on?

Kelli McCrary: We are looking to revamp the Old Post Office to look similar Kiener Plaza to make it greener and inviting. Also, I spoke with the arborist on making St. Louis look more festive for the upcoming holiday season.