FENWICK ISLAND – Town officials are hoping participation in a branding workshop will help them increase interest in the municipality.
In spite of concerns voiced by some council members, on May 27, the Fenwick Island Town Council agreed to include $5,000 in the coming year’s budget for participation in a branding workshop. The workshop is offered through the Delaware Economic Development Office.
“It’s very comprehensive,” said Diane Laird, state coordinator for the Downtown Delaware program, in an interview. “It’s not just a town logo.”
The branding workshop costs $10,000 and is expected to be funded with $5,000 from the town and a matching grant from Downtown Delaware. According to Laird, many municipalities in the First State have already taken advantage of the branding workshops offered by her department. Milford, Millsboro and Middletown are among past participants. Laird says several of the towns have gone on to use the logo and graphics created through the program on everything from water towers to trash cans.
She explained that typically, the consultant who handles the workshop comes to town on a Tuesday and hosts a public work session to gather input about local assets and attractions.
“There’s a lot of verbal input,” Laird said.
The consultant then chats with area business owners and tours the town, taking pictures along the way. By the end of the week, the consultant has created branding materials for the town.
“That’s part of what’s so exciting,” Laird said. “It’s very much a community engagement process.”
At Friday’s meeting, council members Julie Lee and Roy Williams expressed concerns regarding the workshop. Lee said there were options the town could explore before spending any money.
“Maybe we are going too far too fast,” she said, adding that she wanted to see community members work together but not for $10,000.
Williams questioned the workshop’s focus on businesses.
“If we’re trying to pull the town together why are we not talking to everybody in town?” he asked.
Richard Mais said public participation would be a part of the process.
Mayor Gene Langan suggested the council put money in the budget for the workshop with the condition that they would have to approve spending it when the time came.
Lee responded that if it was in the budget it would be spent.
“That’s a foregone conclusion,” she said.
Lee said after the meeting she was simply concerned about the cost of the workshop and wanted to make sure the entire town supported the initiative.
“Ten thousand is a big investment,” she said. “Even with the town paying $5,000 and a matching grant of $5,000. I feel it is important to make sure that the businesses in town understand how the branding program works, and are on board, before we move forward.”