Euharlee council considers revamped marketing plan
by Neil B. McGahee
Jan 22, 2014 | 1218 views | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In its first work session of 2014, the Euharlee City Council heard newly-elected mayor Dennis Thayer’s ideas for improving the town’s image, including proposals for rebranding, amending the city’s mission statement, outsourcing landscaping, amending the city’s organizational chart and developing a strategic plan.

“I think it’s time to update how the city looks; how the city presents itself,” Thayer said. “We have the covered bridge and there’s no reason to change that, but our signage, website, stationary, you name it, needs to be updated.”

Thayer suggested the city send a request for proposals (RFP) to marketing firms to get an idea of the cost involved and what type of rebranding they had in mind. Council member Craig Guyton said he was all for requesting an RFP as long as “we incorporate what we already have,” referring to the city seal with the covered bridge.

Council member Joseph “Jo-Jo” Turner seemed skeptical of the idea.

“I’m not really sure where you’re going with this rebranding,” he said. “Are we going to be a tourist city or a modern city, a Georgia Power city. I just don’t see where you are going with this.”

Thayer said to look no further than down the road, saying there were five signs at a nearby intersection.

“Every one of them is different,” he said. “I agree with you that the historic aspect of the city should be kept but I think we should explore what we can do to better market the city to bring people here. We may get 10 proposals back and every one of them are horrible, but it doesn’t cost anything to find out.”

After learning that the RFPs would not cost the city, the council warmed to the idea.

“Well, it’s not going to cost anything and if the rabbit gets to running too far, we can always shoot him,” council member Steve Worthington said.

Euharlee museum director Katie Gobbi presented a proposal to create a Christmas village for next year’s holiday season.

“The majority of these proposed events would occur between Dec. 5 and 7,” she said, “and create a consolidated marketing effort during the holiday season.”

Among the ideas suggested were enhanced decoration of the historic city buildings, a tree-lighting ceremony, outdoor film screenings of popular holiday films, photographs with Santa Claus and a holiday arts and crafts fair with local artisans selling Christmas-themed wares.

“I’m thinking it should have an old-timey feel to it,” Gobbi said. “Maybe having carolers in period costume, school bands and concessions.”

Worthington expressed his concern that the new event might overshadow the Festival of Trees, a 12-year institution in Euharlee featuring the festival parade where participants ride horses or decorated vehicles like golf carts, bicycles, motorcycles, floats and trailers.

The festival got its name from the tradition of putting decorated trees and wreaths on the auction block on the final night with proceeds going to local charities.

“We don’t want the Christmas Village idea to overshadow the festival,” Gobbi said. “We hope that it will enhance the festival.”

In other business, council:

• honored former Mayor Kathy Foulk and council member Sammy Carden with plaques honoring them for their service to the city.

• adopted a resolution congratulating Johnny Mitchell’s Smokehouse restaurant for being named the 2013 Small Business of the Year by the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce.

• heard a first reading of the synthetic marijuana ordinance.

• discussed adoption of international building codes.

• tabled discussion of a revamped city mission statement.

• decided to further explore the possibility of outsourcing landscaping and maintenance of three city parks to private firms.

• discussed revamping the city organizational chart.

• discussed hiring a grant writer for the city.

The Euharlee City Council will meet in regular session on Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. at city hall.