City Newsletter Gets a New Look

Next month, residents can expect a new look for their city newsletter! The monthly eight page layout that has seen very little changes since 2008 will be updated to a sixteen page magazine-style publication that will be delivered on a bimonthly schedule. The new publication will be delivered in April, June, August, October, and December. In 2023, delivery will resume in February and follow the same bimonthly schedule. 

After analyzing the data from our newsletter survey that was released back in November of 2021, we learned that readers enjoyed several features of the current newsletter layout: the council minutes, calendar, message from the Mayor, etc. We also gathered up great feedback about what readers were still wanting out of the newsletter that we weren't currently incorporating: information on new businesses, summer events, and employee highlights - just to name a few. Rather than having monthly content squeezed into eight pages, the new design will have pages dedicated to each specific department, giving the Maryland Heights Communications Division some much needed organization to each issue.

The new layout will have several color-coded pages: General Info, Council Minutes, Calendar, Administration & Finance, Community Development, Public Works, Police, and Parks and Recreation. Each issue will also have a feature story on the cover and a page dedicated specifically for community news.

The department pages color coding are coordinated with the website:

  • The Administration and Finance section will feature any budget related information, frequently asked questions about local taxes, new employee introductions and employee highlights/news. 
  • Community Development will include lists of active development projects and helpful articles on building and codes, home improvement, floodplain management and resources provided by the social worker. 
  • The Public Works section will include information on any upcoming Electronic Recycling or Bulk Waste events, updates on construction or road projects and recycling tips. 
  • The Police Department will continue to provide articles on safety and feature a variety of their programs such as the Citizen's Police Academy, Youth Academy and Safety Town.
  • On months where the Guide to Parks and Recreation is not included as an insert, we will continue to provide a summary of programming and events occurring during the time frame. 
  • A featured story will be the star on every cover and there will be more space to dedicate to these special topics. 
  • Finally, a Community Spotlight section will allow us to recap past events, feature local heroes or volunteers and provide information on any collections that the city might be hosting. 

"The Communications Division is really excited for these changes," stated Trisha Hall, Communications Manager. "We were able to take the pieces that were working and turn it into an updated publication that people will want to pick up and read. We've been working on our photography collection and have some really beautiful photos that we've taken over the years. Unfortunately, the current space and layout doesn't allow us to show off any of that." 

Not only does the Communications Division want to introduce more photography and organization with the new layout, they're hoping that having a bimonthly publication will allow them to get ahead of the post office delays. "After observing multiple months of newsletters delayed by post office challenges and knowing that this was not something within the City's control, we were frustrated at spending nearly $3,000 in just postage each month for something that wasn't even getting to our residents," said Hall. "I'd rather see the City save money on postage by reducing the number of publications and work harder at making sure that the news our residents receive is not dated." She plans on accomplishing this with internal communication and a forward thinking compilation of topics. "We have to train ourselves to think 3-4 months in advance." 

So, what happens when there's last minute changes or something that comes up that wasn't planned 3-4 months in advance? Hall suggests joining the email newsletter mailing list at www.marylandheights.com/mhlife. An email of city news will be sent out on the 1st of every month and will include reminders, news that didn't make it into the printed newsletter, and other time-sensitive items. She also suggests following the City's social media channels and checking the news section on the website. 

And if you are 55 years or older, you still have the option to have a physical publication every month. "We wanted to alternate the bimonthly delivery of the newsletter with the delivery of Mature Matters, our bimonthly senior newsletter," says Hall. "Don't be surprised when we start sneaking in some city news into Mature Matters so our readers can continue to have their monthly reminders." This free bimonthly publication is written specifically for the older residents of Maryland Heights and includes upcoming programs, luncheon entertainment schedules, Monday Meet and Greet topics and upcoming trips. If you would like to sign up to receive a printed copy of Mature Matters, contact Nancy Whitener at (314) 738-2552 or nwhitener@marylandheights.com and your name and address will be added to the mailing list. 

What else can you expect from this process?
Besides the new design and delivery schedule, all residents will continue to receive the newsletter in their mailbox. "If you do not receive your newsletter within the first week of the scheduled month (February, April, June, August, October, and December), please call your local post office. In the past, we have traced back our delivery issues to a new carrier who isn't familiar with the city boundaries. The only way we'll be able to identify an ongoing problem is to have specific addresses speak up and let it be known they aren't receiving their publication" said Hall.

The Communications Division is also working on implementing several other programs this year such as a mass notification system for emergencies and a fun podcast about the City. Stay connected by visiting www.marylandheights.com/mhlife and feel free to drop us a line at mhlife@marylandheights.com. We are always looking for news, photos and feedback!