Branding study supports Carson’s downtown plans | nnbusinessview.com

Branding study supports Carson’s downtown plans

Laura Cianci

Officials of Carson City were delighted to hear yet another expert tell them that the design that the citizens put together last year for their downtown was exactly what was needed.

“It was interesting. What he did was confirm what we knew,” said City Manager Linda Ritter, discussing the observations of a branding consultant brought in by the Carson City Convention & Visitors Bureau this month.

The expert, Roger Brooks, president of Destination Development, Inc. based at Olympia, Wash., was hired to help the city develop a brand identity.

The work is intended to be finished before completion of the freeway in 2008 when the city can reclaim its downtown with the diversion of U.S. 395 traffic that currently runs down Carson Street.

“We did a visioning plan for downtown Carson City because with the completion of the throughway it’s crucial to bring back our downtown and make it tourist and pedestrian friendly,” said Candy Duncan, executive director for convention and visitors bureau.

“We want to come up with a brand that everyone can use, the city, the redevelopment authority, the businesses and attractions involved in tourism.”

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The first step, Duncan said, was for Brooks to assess the city’s strengths and weaknesses and to determine what Carson City is and what makes it different.

Among his findings were a need for a narrower traffic lanes and wider sidewalks to make Carson Street more pedestrian friendly, better gateways into the city, and more nighttime entertainment.

“His conclusions were very much what the city had concluded; they definitely dovetailed,” Duncan said.

Ritter said she wants citizens to get involved in the process. Carson City invited residents last fall to participate in a two-day design workshop during which they had the opportunity to tell the city what they would like the downtown to look like when the traffic was diverted.

“It (the new freeway) is going to change the complexion of our downtown. We want to be ready and plan for it,” she said.

The desire for a more livable and thriving downtown has driven the city’s desire to develop a comprehensive design that is pedestrian- and tourist-friendly, said Joe McCarthy, economic development and redevelopment manager for Carson City. He said the branding expert the tourism folks brought in reinforced what the city already deducted from the community.

“What he’s (Brooks) has done is reinforce that we are going in the right direction,” McCarthy said.