Town approves branding, funding for events

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By David Meade

During their meeting Monday, Williamston Town Council adopted an updated town seal and destination logos which will be used for marketing and branding for the town and approved funding for entertainment for four GWBA events.

Council approved the new branding recommendations following a presentation by Main Street Williamston Executive Director Caroline Alex. The video presentation showed the final results of a two day branding work session held last week.

Main Street Williamston “Branding”

Alex said she was “super excited” as she began the presentation by reading the “brand statement” which she said captured the comments received from 10 input sessions.

Alex said the statement reflects the history of the town and puts it in into perspective. “It captures us,” she said.

The presentation included color schemes and explanation of a new water droplet icon which will be used on everything from town forms, to street signs and banners.

According to Alex the unique icon is formed from three intertwined water droplets which form a W at the top and refer to the textile history of the town as well as the spring.

“It captures the past, present and future,” she said.

The icon is used in a destination logo for branding Historic Williamston, the town logo and to represent the spring, park, and quality of life.

The water droplet icon is also used to represent each of the four points the Main Street program is based on, which are Economic Restructuring, Organization, Design and Promotion.

Examples were shown of print materials, a possible gateway entrance, and brand extension for several events including the Spring Water Festival and Boo in the Park.

One recommendation from the branding worksession was a suggestion on what to call Armory building which will house the new Arts Center. By combining the town, the suggestion was to call it an “Artory.”

Acting on a motion by Councilman Rockey Burgess and seconded by Mayor Mack Durham, Council unanimously approved the updated town seal and branding information.

(The entire Main Street Williamston branding presentation can be viewed online from a link posted at www.maryland.cochranfirmcriminaldefense.com and the town website.)

GWBA Funding Request

Council entertained a second request by the GWBA for funding for several events.

GWBA Prsesident Chris Trotter said the GWBA plans to sponsor three Party in the Park events and partner with the town to help with the July 5th event.

Mayor Durham made a motion to fund the $6500 request.

During discussion, Councilman Scott said,

“I don’t appreciate these emails to manipulate a town councilman how to vote. Only one person tells me how to vote, that is my heavenly father.”

Scott was referring to response from some GWBA members on a vote in which the request for the funding did not pass at a previous council meeting.

Councilman Tony Hagood said he was supporting the request based on feedback he received from last years events. “They were well planned, well executed and there was so much positive feedback. We need these type of events. We want people from outside to come in and see it (the town).”

Trotter said, “It is not for the GWBA. We want to put it on for the town. If you are ever going to change this town, you are going to have to change the norm.”

Trotter said businesses are open to changing the environment.

“People are not here because there is nothing to do here if the Town and the GWBA don’t work together to provide things for people to do. We are a partner.”

“If you have a problem to move this town forward, please let us know and we will quit trying,” Trotter said.

There was some discussion about the hospitatlity tax fund.

Williamston businessman and GWBA Vice President Mike Simpson said, “ The businesses and individuals were outspoken about how they felt. We are all volunteers who invest alot of time and come together to try to build this town.”

Simpson said they are working for a better atmosphere and “a future for our children” and to have something “to come in and enjoy.”

He said as a business owner he appreciates the support of the town.

Mayor Durham said, “It take the involvement of our citizens.

Councilman Scott said he was not against the Party in the Park events and that he enjoyed it last year. “There was a good crowd and it was alcohol free,” he said.

The request for funding for entertainment for the events was approved unanimously.

2014-15 Budget

Acting on a motion by Councilman Scott, Council then approved first reading on the 2014-2015 budget. There was no discussion. (Details on the budget will be published in upcoming issues of The Journal).

Council approved a budget amendment with changes to bring the 2013-14 budget in line with expenditures and changes made during the year.

Other actions

Council unanimously approved a request by the Palmetto VW club to hold a campout and show in the park on Sept. 12. Organizer Rick Sanders presented information on the impact of the event last year which drew approximately 2500 people and included 111 Volkswagens on display in the park for the two day event.

This year the event will include bluegrass music in the gazebo, Sanders said.

Council agreed to submit a paving request for Harbison Drive in Ward 2 to the County C funds committee.

Council unanimouly approved a resolution to designate May as Foster Care Month.

Police Department Report

Williamston Police Chief Tony Taylor said that in an ongoing effort to improve the professionalism of the department, he had recently completed police management and budget training at Penn State University. The sessions and lodging for the training were free, he said. He also reported the department had answered more than 2000 calls and written 105 traffic tickets during the prior month.

Taylor presented information about the ongoing cleanup effort in the town. There was also discussion about limb and leaf pickup being on a new schedule.

Chief Taylor said the town is trying to instill a sense of community pride by involving volunteers and shifting some of the responsibility for the cleanup initiative to the community.

“It is annual exercise to engage the community,” Mayor Durham said.

Councilman Otis Scott, who is also heading up the effort said, “It is working, just ride the streets.”

The police department and town are also sponsoring an event May 31 at the Caroline Community Center in connection with Foster Care Month.

Chief Taylor said the event will show appreciation and awareness for foster parents in the area and will include a dinner, entertainment and a speaker. There will also be activities for children.

Parks and Recreation

Members of the Parks and Recreation Committee asked the town to keep the committee in place.

Chairman Kempie Shepard said the committee had considered disbanding and after reconsidering felt it should not be dissolved.

Shepard said the committee wanted to be kept informed on projects and plans regarding the park and wanted to have input on them.

She said the committee was “Accepting new ideas, people, and experiences and that the “desires of the community foremost as our interest.”

Committee member Dianne Lollis said the group was appointed in 2007 when the park was in very bad shape and she thinks they should stay together to make recommendations on problems and improvements.

Mayor Durham said that in the past there had been a problem of not following through and that the town wanted to “try to do things in a unified way.”

Durham said the committee was not asked to disband and could continue at the will of the committee.

Shepard also requested councilman Rockey Burgess be a member of the committee.