Citizens give input to consultant

  • Saturday, May 3, 2014

Stefan Rogenmoser/Gazette Aaron Arnett shows Goose Creek citizens a branding adverstisement his company made for Travelers Rest.

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Economic consultant Aaron Arnett asked about 50 citizens what image they would put on a postcard to send to someone who has never been to Goose Creek.

Answers included the golf course, the pond at Crowfield, families walking on hiker/biker trails, geese flying over a park or pond, the Goose Creek St. James Church, Crowfield Plantation ruins, and the municipal center.

On April 17 Arnett spoke to a group of citizens at the Goose Creek Police Department training room about his strategies for economic development. He also asked for citizen input. The meeting was attended by many citizens who regularly attend city council meetings.

Arnett works for Arnett Muldrow & Associates, a city planning firm based in Greenville that has worked on economic development and marketing tactics for a number of southeastern cities. He was contracted by Goose Creek in 2013.

“I had no perception of Goose Creek before I worked here,” Arnett said. “There’s great recreational and public facilities that give you a great quality of life.”

He said the plan is to grow the community without affecting the quality of life. So far he has talked to businesses and industries to gather input on the market.

The purpose of the citizen input meeting was to gather community identity.

“A community brand is broader than a computer logo,” Arnett said. “It’s not simply a logo.”

He added it is a color, a font, a graphic or icon that is an overall composition that tells the story of a place. He showed examples of icons for other cities his firm has worked with.

An icon should reinforce the positive attributes of a community and instill community pride for the people who live there, he explained. A brand statement says who a community is and is a promise made to the consumer and people who visit.

Arnett said there should be a separate identity for the destination and the government. The example he used is that universities have different logos for academics than for athletics, so if a school’s team does not perform well it should not effect academic enrollment.

Arnett showed ads for Travelers Rest, known in the upstate as TR. The logo has the two letters in a box that looks like it could be in the periodic table of elements with the phrase, “TR. Get into your element.” Its other phrase is, “It starts with TR.”

Travelers Rest is known for its outdoor activities in the foothills of the mountains. These ads are geared at a regional market.

Arnett said the median age in Goose Creek is 28.7, adding that there are a lot of young families. He said the good school system will keep property values up.

Another question he asked is what would the gateway sign to Goose Creek say.

Answers included: a great safe place to live; secret city of the south; we’re ready for you to explore; and, a hidden gem.

Arnett added that Goose Creek is the most walk-able suburban community he has ever seen. It has a rural small town feel but is minutes away from a historic metro area.

His next question was if they could take a dignitary through town for 15 minutes, where would they go.

Answers included: the municipal building; the recreation center; Crowfield ruins; the rebuilt Central Avenue; Carnes Crossroads; Crowfield Industrial Park, and some of the 300-year-old trees.

His next question was what one word describes Goose Creek. Answers included: desirable; stable; green; home; peaceful; safe; quiet; affordable and beautiful.

One resident said there is no art culture in the city and it needs a movie theater.

Another resident said the city needs an event like the Flowertown Festival or a Christmas parade.

Another citizen said there is no venue to hold events in.

A resident retorted there is the free Sounds of Summer concert series at the golf course, the city has its own gym, and the city is in the process of starting its own orchestra.

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