Al­liance seeks out­side firm to re­brand Elk­ton’s image

Con­sul­tant to eval­u­ate eco­nomic vi­tal­ity

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By BRI­ANNA SHEA

bshea@ce­cil­whig.com

— The Elk­ton Cham­ber & Al­liance is seek­ing an out­side firm to help them makeover the town’s image to at­tract more busi­nesses and im­prove eco­nomic devel­op­ment.

Dur­ing the Al­liance’s Tues­day board of di­rec­tors meet­ing, Brad Car­rillo, cochair of the eco­nomic vi­tal­ity com­mit­tee, said com-

ELK­TON

mit­tee mem­bers re­cently met with Tripp Muldrow, a con­sul­tant with Ar­nett Muldrow & As­so­ciates, a firm that ex­am­ines the imag­ing and brand­ing of mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to de­ter­mine how to bet­ter cre­ate and drive eco­nomic devel­op­ment.

Muldrow es­ti­mated that such a study would cost about $35,000, though Car­rillo em­pha­sized that the com­mit­tee is still wait­ing on bids from two other firms.

“I think the end goal is to have a roadmap to in­crease traf­fic, vis­i­tors and the eco­nomic vi­tal­ity of down­town and the greater Elk­ton, just Elk­ton as a whole,” Car­rillo said.

If the cham­ber de­cides to go with Muldrow, the firm’s study would con­sist of three phases. The first phases would in­clude a mar­ket study and anal­y­sis, which looks at the area, busi­nesses, po­ten­tial growth and other as­pects. The sec­ond phase in­volves the cre­ation of a brand­ing and mar­ket­ing plan. In the third phase, Muldrow would draw from its find­ings in the first two phases to cre­ate a mas­ter

plan and would then help im­ple­ment that plan, Car­rillo said. Al­ter­na­tively, the Al­liance can im­ple­ment the plan them­selves in­stead of hav­ing the com­pany help, he added.

Each phase will take six to eight weeks and the en­tire study will take a year, Car­rollo said, not­ing that if they choose to go with the Muldrow, he’d make sure they com­mit to a time­frame.

The com­mit­tee’s plan is in ad­di­tion to the Down­town Mas­ter Plan for Elk­ton, which was cre­ated in April 2003 and runs through 2023, said Mary Jo Jablon­ski, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Al­liance. The down­town plan is a guid­ing tool, which fo­cuses on re­vi­tal­iza­tion and in­creas­ing eco­nomic devel­op­ment. Un­like the down­town plan, this new plan would ex­am­ine all of Elk­ton rather than just one area, she said.

“It’s won­der­ful,” said Jablon­ski of the pos­si­bil­ity of hir­ing another con­sul­tant.

Jablon­ski also noted that the last mar­ket­ing anal­y­sis per­formed was for the down­town mas­ter plan, which took place more than 10 years ago, cost about $55,000. She said the Muldrow price isn’t bad com­pared to that other price.

Car­rillo said the com­mit­tee hopes to re­ceive the two other bids by the board’s next meet­ing.

“We are bid­ding to make sure we get both the best com­pany, but also a rea­son- able deal,” Car­rillo said. “We want Elk­ton to have the best.”

Af­ter the bid­ding is com­plete, Car­rillo said he and Kath­leen Kunda, the com­mit­tee’s co-chair, will present their rec­om­men­da­tion on who to hire to the Al­liance board, who will then vote on it.

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

Elk­ton Cham­ber & Al­liance mem­bers are hop­ing that re­brand­ing the town’s image may help bring more busi­nesses into the area.

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