By Lisa Wilbourne
City council Thursday night heard Public Information Officer Steve Hawley discuss a branding and marketing initiative undertaken by the Office of Economic Development and the Convention and Visitors Authority. Hawley told council the goal is “more than just a logo or a tagline, it’s an all-encompassing way of selling who you are and who you want to be.”
The CVA will manage the process, and an advertising company experienced with similar-sized cities and a proven track record will be selected. Input from the entire community will be sought later in the process, and city council will have final approval. Council unanimously approved the initiative. View the presentation here.
The newly established Office of Economic Development, housed within the city’s Community Development department, presented a strategic economic plan tying together an overarching vision for the city as a “Top-tier Southern University-Medical Marketplace.” Carl Rees, senior planner, said the reason for adopting a vision is to guide the city’s development. “The [cities] that were the best at what they were doing, seemed the most successful [and] were moving forward fastest,” he noted, “were those who had a very good idea of who they were.”
In his presentation, Rees outlined how to achieve this vision, including strengthening the center city and transportation.
Do you value The Guardian’s in-depth journalism?
Support it. Click here.
On another matter, councilman Dennis Mitchell asked that the city examine and simplify its sign ordinance, with an aim of reducing visual clutter and making it easier for businesses to know the requirements. Council unanimously approved the sign ordinance review, expected to take six to nine months. Council did take immediate action relative to clutter, however, prohibiting “wind blades” and temporary signs. Businesses have 30 days to comply with the new ordinance. View the discussion here.
Council accepted four of six issues to take to the NC General Assembly in May. Approved were (1) supporting the equity formula (more on this here); (2) preserving municipal revenue sources in the city instead of sending them to the state to reappropriate; 3) enhancing and encouraging public-private partnerships, and 4) supporting foundations which assist with statewide economic development efforts. Each approval was unanimous.
In a split vote, council did not support Together NC. Councilwoman Marion Blackburn sought council approval to ask the General Assembly to fill the state budget gap through revenue-building models in addition to cut-based models already in place. Blackburn and Calvin Mercer voted in support; Smith, Glover, Joyner, and Mitchell said no.
Council also voted down a Recreation and Parks Commission request that the city extend its regulation against concealed weapons in parks, to include greenways and campgrounds. The same majority denied the request, with Blackburn and Mercer favoring it. View the full discussion here.
Council approved the creation of a budget committee along the same voting lines. Mayor Thomas, who requested the committee be created, explained the need as arising from a $2 million budget shortfall after the recent property revaluation.
Though council voted down Blackburn’s amendment to have the budget committee be a “committee of whole,” that is, a committee made up of all council members, Mayor Thomas and councilman Max Joyner, who made the motion that the budget committee be made up of the same members as the audit committee (Mayor Thomas, and councilors Rose Glover and Joyner), agreed that all council members whose schedules permitted would be able to participate fully in the discussion of this deliberating committee. View the debate here.
During the public comment period, Mitchell and Joyner indicated they favor exploring the sale of Bradford Creek, Greenville’s municipal golf course. The item will likely show up on the next meeting’s agenda. Click here to view all comments.
EDIT: Councilmember Mitchell sent me this correction today, 4/17/2012: “I am not pushing for the sale of Bradford Creek, I am asking for information of outside management companies to run it since it has been over budget since it was purchased.” — Lisa Wilbourne, Guardian editor
This entry was posted on Saturday, April 14th, 2012 at 1:47 am and filed under City News, Feature, News and Analysis and tagged with budget committee, city branding, city council, city marketing, convention and visitor's authority, economic development, general assembly, Greenville NC, Pitt County, sign ordinance, strategic economic plan, university-medical marketplace, wind blades. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.