This morning I attended an event at the City Hall with a number of community members, business leaders, Mayor and a number of City Council members. The theme of the how to market or promote the City to folks and businesses and attract them to move to the city.
This is the first of several focus group members that the City and a contracting firm, called IDFive planned to organize. The Mayor an Council recently awarded IDFive this marketing contract.
The IDFive is working with the City to collect these information from community members and ultimately use these feedback to come up with an effective market plan. Thus, unfortunately, I won’t publish the details of these findings. However, if you have idea on any of the following lines, please let me know. I will forward those to IDFive team.
- What are the main strengths of College Park. What are the negative perceptions that outsiders have. How about things that almost every has.
- Who will be the target audience of this marketing strategies? Who should the City target to live, work and visit College Park?
- What are the amenities that are missing in College Park?
Please let me know if you have other ideas.
Six months ago, we literally stumbled into North college Park, and fell completely in love with it. We moved to NCP in late March from takoma Park, where we had tried to buy but couldn’t afford anything on a nonprofit salary (not everyone in this town is a defense contractor or GS-13). Before, we came to College Park to get bagles, something hard to find for an ex-New Yorker transplanted in the DMV. We had no idea that there was a whole community within a short walking distance to the Greenbelt Metro, only seeing the stop from the Beltway. Route 1 doesn’t also give credit to the quaint nestled homes and tree lined streets (well…recently treelined streets) and playgrounds that abound in and around the Hollywood neighborhood. Having said this, I think there’s great opportunity for young families in College Park. Now that they started the RUSH Plus service, it’s an easy commute to my work in Alexandria. There’s plenty of weekend things to do, we can walk to a locally owned and operated organic grocery store, and the University adds to the youth and diversity of the neighborhood. For a family with two kids on a budget, College Park definitely has a lot to offer, and I hope the marketing firm can find ways to communicate this to young urban transplants like us.
•What are the main strengths of College Park. What are the negative perceptions that outsiders have.
Strengths – UMD, disposable income (which is sadly spent outside of our area since we are lacking so much here!), great sense of community/environmentally conscious, well-educated and hard-working families who care about their neighborhoods
Negative perceptions – crime, poor performing schools, poor residents, lacking retail/restaurants/hotels
•Who will be the target audience of this marketing strategies? Who should the City target to live, work and visit College Park?
Families, UMD professionals, federal government employees, tourists visiting Riversdale House and College Park Airport (these need to be better advertised)
•What are the amenities that are missing in College Park?
Higher-end retail/restaurants/hotels. Pretty much anything you can find in Bethesda/Tysons/Arlington – we are lacking here. I’m not talking about ultra high-end retail, but we have enough of the low-end big box stores, discount furniture/clothing/shoes shops, dollar stores, check cashing shops, convenience stores, fast food, etc. Our shopping centers are ugly and old. We need facelifts to all of our schools too. This will attract families too. Think along the lines of the Village at Shirlington in Arlington VA. We need some kid-friendly places similar to Playseum and Make Meaning (www.playseum.com, https://www.makemeaning.com/activities/ ), Adventure Theatre (http://www.adventuretheatre-mtc.org/ ), Imagination Stage (http://imaginationstage.org/) , etc. We also lack activities for adults. It would be nice to have a cooking school (http://www.lacademie.com/) and something like this for kids and adults – http://www.climbzone.us/
Our area (and our whole County) needs a major PR campaign. We have such a bad stigma attached to our County. In reality, every county surrounding DC has pockets of crime, poor schools, poverty etc but for some reason our county is the only one with a stigma attached. We need a PR campaign to highlight what our area has to offer in terms of great neighborhoods, families, parks/lakes and activities offered with park staff and wildlife experts, existing retail (we do have some good stuff that exists and much more slated to come!), and the great things going on in our schools.