As it develops a road map for future planning, and calls on the community’s help to do so, the City of Clinton will soon be unveiling a new-look logo that will assist in marketing every aspect of the city’s brand for years to come.
Earlier this week, City Council met for a special planning session, during which it heard an update on the 2035 Comprehensive Plan from Dale Holland of Holland Consulting Planners and listened to an audio presentation by Ben Muldrow of Arnett Muldrow & Associates of Greenville, S.C. about an ongoing branding initiative.
More than just a logo and tagline, the branding endeavor will include marketing concepts and messaging for the community, as well as various design elements for Clinton and community partners, custom banner designs, coordinated way-finding concepts and new web page elements.
As Council members watched a video, Muldrow’s voiceover took them through the branding process. While discussed in recent years, the process began in earnest in June, City manager Shawn Purvis noted.
Muldrow read a lengthy branding message talking about everything that Clinton has to offer, wrapping up, with “We are Clinton, North Carolina, and we are the perfect place to call home.”
He then unveiled a stylized version of a millstone, separated out into six multi-colored elements, with the word “Clinton” in serif type face. Muldrow showed how the new logo could be used in various advertising and marketing elements, including for the city’s annual holiday events and its street fair, as well as a specific design for its downtown, which incorporated the millstone element in the “o” in Clinton. An updated city seal was also shown.
The “perfect place to call home” also lends itself well to website and pamphlet elements that could incorporate local businesses and destinations, such as the “perfect gift to take home” for the many businesses in Clinton or “the perfect place to be healthy” for the Center for Health and Wellness.
“The possibilities of expansion are endless,” said Muldrow.
A formal presentation will be given at the Council’s September meeting. City managerial staff requested the logo not be published until the official presentation, as it could be tweaked in the next couple weeks.
Clinton-Sampson Planning director Mary Rose said she is hoping different colored banners showing off the new logo will be put up following the Fantastic Shakers performance on Friday, Oct. 10, just prior to the next day’s Court Square Street Fair. The annual event, which brings thousands of people to the downtown and surrounding area each year, would be a prime opportunity to unveil the new look.
“We’re hoping to make it happen,” Rose said, noting that Public Works crews would take old banners down and put new ones up that night. “The biggest event in our community downtown will help us unveil and show our community our pride in this new brand. That will be kind of the initial stages of our roll-out.”
In the months to follow, the city’s design committee will be working on materials and way-finding signs.
“It is a very overwhelming process,” Rose noted, “but I think the management team and our employees are looking forward to this implementation. I know our downtown committees are looking forward to working with this new brand.”
Purvis said the design, previously seen along with the brand statement by members of the Brand Steering Committee, who responded positively, will be open to any tweaks from Council leading up to the September meeting.
Council members Neal Strickland and Jean Turlington, along with Mayor Lew Starling, said they were impressed with the branding work.
Also at the meeting, Holland updated Council on a long-range planning effort under way and urged more local participation as part of an ongoing survey and upcoming meetings.
“We are well into the process of preparing the draft Comprehensive Plan,” Holland said. “At this point, we’ve been through about seven meetings with the (Advisory) committee.”
He gave an overview of the data and input collected, which encompasses stakeholder interviews, various Census statistics, demographic information, Clinton’s favorable regional location and survey responses gauging local residents’ input on the gamut of issues.
A comprehensive plan is a road map which provides guidance on where and how a community will grow and change over a given period of time. For Clinton, that period starts at 2014 and extends to 2035.
“The intent of the project is to draft a plan that will establish a solid foundation for the ongoing planning program and to serve as the primary policy guide for short and long-range planning, zoning and development related decision-making within the Clinton planning area,” Rose has said.
Among his concerns, Holland said there was no signage out on I-40 telling people they are just eight miles from the Clinton Central Business District (CBD), where he showed that “by far the greatest concentration and per acre property values” were located — $1 million an acre for a few blocks on Beaman Street alone.
“So there is a vast number of people passing by every day,” he said.
Rose said the way-finding efforts in the branding initiative would see those signs erected, along with many others.
Holland talked about 2030 population estimates showing Sampson at the bottom of the table, at 7.2 percent anticipated growth, “with fairly astounding statistics scattered around Sampson County.” Among them Cumberland expects 14 percent growth, Harnett expects 40 percent, Johnston at 32 percent and Pender at 41 percent by that time.
“I do not have a crystal ball better than anyone else’s but I do not think that when 2030 arrives that will be an accurate figure. I believe that figure will prove to be way low. There are too many things happening, too many regional connections, too good a regional location, too many assets in Clinton … I truly believe this growth will begin to spill over into Clinton and Sampson County.”
So far, a total of 191 surveys have been completed at the 2035 Comprehensive Plan site, at www.clintonnc2035plan.net.
Among the questions on the survey, respondents are asked to gauge Clinton’s top assets, its liabilities, their favorite and least favorite place in the city and main issues facing Clinton’s future. Among some of the answers, the people were identified as the top asset, lack of jobs was listed as a main liability and “home” was listed as the favorite place, with downtown Clinton being second.
“I don’t know why people aren’t filling out the survey because we’ve had a lot more hits on that website than we have surveys completed,” Holland said. “We’re not closing the survey or taking it off the website until we get to the final draft of the plan.”
He encouraged more participation in the surveys, as well as input at a series of upcoming meetings.
“We are going to have five meetings in town during September,” Holland noted. “The more people who participate, the better document we’re going to have.”
Rose said those meetings would follow the same format and locations as the annual district meetings. Specific dates will be announced shortly, with meetings to be scheduled through the first three weeks of September.
“We really hope we have a good turnout,” said Holland. He noted a community meeting at Royal Lane Park several months ago, at which citywide issues were discussed in general. “What we want to do in these five meetings is really focus on those individual areas of the city.”
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-249-4616. Follow us on twitter @SampsonInd.