Columbus seeking ideas for downtown branding strategy
COLUMBUS - Downtown Columbus needs a name.
"Haymarket Park is taken. The Railyard is taken," says Downtown Columbus Business Improvement District Board Vice President Kevin Johnson. "We're trying to come up with a catchy name that rings a bell like those two."
The Downtown Business Improvement District is exploring its options for branding the roughly 30 square blocks of downtown Columbus.
They asked the public for help in coming up with a name and Columbus residents stepped up - pitching in over 200 ideas!
City leaders say it's a sign of how important downtown is to the people of Columbus.
"We're just trying to make people not forget us down here," Johnson said. "If we have some kind of catchy name to go with the district, maybe it will give a little more spark."
Columbus' downtown has a lot of distinguishing features... its proximity to the railroad... its location near two rivers...even how it sits at the intersection of two major U.S. Highways.
That's a lot of possibilities, which is why the BID is looking into hiring a marketing firm to help shore up what the downtown identity will be.
"One-hundred-one of our buildings have significant architectural items on them or in them that relate to our history," says Columbus Planning and Economic Development Coordinator Jean Van Iperen. "We want to try and preserve that. I think any time we can preserve that and bring in new businesses, you're revitalizing your downtown. That's what we're trying to do."
So what's in a name? City leaders say it represents a way to galvanize the community around revitalizing Columbus' downtown.
"People used to want to come downtown and get involved in the atmosphere," Johnson says. "That's what we're trying to do - create an atmosphere."
The City recently granted the downtown board an assessment of $200 per $100,000 of valuation in downtown businesses. That money can then go toward not just hiring a marketing firm but offering grants for small projects like landscaping and facade work.
The BID will have access to that money beginning this October.