(231) 942-4537


425 Boardman ave, St C Traverse City, MI 49684


About Elise Crafts, FoUNDEr

Hi, I'm Elise.

I moved to Traverse City in 2013 from Kalamazoo, Michigan and fell in love with the warm people, sandy soils, long winters, small towns, and thick trail network of this region. I founded Statecraft in 2018 with the intention to leverage my enthusiasm for practical zoning policies, active planning documents, and grassroots community development. I'm fortunate to work alongside dedicated leaders and engaged citizens who make time in their busy lives to care for their community. I most enjoy listening, learning, and implementing alongside these amazing folks. 

Prior to founding Statecraft, I worked as a community planner, real-estate development consultant, and zoning administrator. Growing up, I thought interior design was the career for me, but ultimately found “community design” after graduating with a bachelor's in writing, sociology, and geography from Aquinas College and master's in community development from Western Michigan University. I remain interested in interior design, however, and confess to keeping that dream alive in my own home, much to my family’s amusement (“where are you moving the couch to now?”).

I’d love to connect with anyone interested in rearranging/improving their own community “couches”. Please feel free to reach me at (231) 942-4537 or


Services Offered

planning & Zoning

Statecraft combines our experience with planning, zoning administration, and economic development to facilitate master planning processes which provide realistic and achievable direction, and then update zoning ordinances accordingly. This last step is critical and often overlooked. We offer planning, zoning ordinance, and zoning administration services.

A note—while these processes may feel overwhelming, particularly for small communities/organizations, we enjoy breaking complicated processes into small decision points and tasks, and do our darnedest to make it fun for you along the way. We particularly relish identifying and “trying on” different perspectives during tricky conversations, in order to create the most collaborative outcome possible. At the end of the day, a lot of people have a lot of passion for their community and we find comfort in this shared sentiment. This is what community planning and development is all about.

Development & operationS

Has your community/organization recently wrapped up a visioning or planning process resulting in a lot of important, but demanding, priorities and you're not clear where to start? You have the vision—now you need the capacity and energy to take steps forward. 

Whether connecting potential investors to your community, organizing and facilitating meetings, or providing ongoing operations assistance, we believe that the most impactful community development initiatives are born from consensus-based visioning; strong relationships; clearly articulated tasks and budgets; small but bold steps forward; and a willingness to be flexible and adapt to changing conditions.

Statecraft offers project management, grant writing, fund development, meeting facilitation, budgeting, and communication services to help your organization meet its goals and make positive and long-lasting impact in your community.

Written communications

We are just dipping our toes into content writing/editing and communications work, mainly for clients who hired us to assist with a planning, zoning, or development project. Perhaps it’s the fun of organizing a complicated project into approachable, conversational tidbits; experimenting with different tones and styles; or maybe we read too many zoning ordinances and content creation provides a creative flex for that part of our brain we left behind in Article X—whatever the reason, we are quite keen on this work! Statecraft offers written communications assistance as part of a larger project or as a standalone service.

Project Highlights

Strategy Coordinator, Community Resource Development

The Community Resource Development (CRD) is a community development non-profit located in Mancelona, MI. The CRD is a collaborative and grassroots effort with representation from local government, education, business, and residents.  Strategic priority areas include communications, economic development, food & farming, and recreation. 

Zoning Administrator, Joyfield Township 

Joyfield Township is a rural community located in Benzie County, just south of Benzonia and a few miles East of the Lake Michigan coastline. The Township recently enacted their first zoning ordinance to implement master plan goals, including to protect and retain rural and scenic character, encourage agricultural operations, and support job growth. The Planning Commission has taken the proactive stance of regularly reviewing and updating the zoning ordinance to ensure its success in achieving community goals. 

public engagement, East-west corridor transportation study 

The East-West Corridor Transportation Study is a project of the Grand Traverse County Road Commission. The purpose of this project is to assess technical transportation aspects, listen to people in the Grand Traverse region, and identify a range of short-term and long-term solutions to address local transportation needs. 

Technical Assistance, Fife Lake Joint Planning Commission

The Village of Fife Lake and Fife Lake Township are forming a joint planning commission to further strengthen the strong relationship between both municipalities and pool resources, and ensure cohesive land use planning, development, and protection of the greater Fife Lake area. The Planning Commission will maintain updated plans and zoning ordinances, review planning applications, and support community development initiatives. 


Interested in meeting to discuss community development, zoning, dogs, gardening tips, and/or hiking trails? I can't wait! Email me directly at or fill out the form below. 

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