Downtown Wheeling To Develop Image

Downtown Wheeling Inc. believes it takes a community to build a brand.

The public will have the opportunity to provide input regarding the development of downtown Wheeling’s community image during a meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday on the third floor of the Artisan Center, 1400 Main St.

During the design charrette – a highly intense period of design and planning activity – Downtown Wheeling hopes to engage the public in the process of developing a brand identity that will appeal to the local and visiting public.

The goal is to create an image that evokes re-birth, re-imagining and, ultimately, a lasting revitalization.

“We want the public’s perspective because it adds authenticity to the brand we’re looking to build. With a brand, you’re making a community image. When people come (to visit), the brand should match up with what they experience,” said Jake Dougherty, AmeriCorps member with Downtown Wheeling Inc.

The process is about defining the destination’s positives and determining how to build upon them, he said.

“There’s a renaissance happening right now… a lot of new energy, new partnerships being formed, new projects happening,” he said. “We need something that defines Wheeling today.”

The plan is to create an identifiable image with colors, font-type, cohesive collateral marketing materials and a strategy for deploying the image so it resonates with residents, business owners and tourists alike.

Community image experts at Arnett Muldrow & Associates, based in Greenville, S.C., will assist with that plan and lead Tuesday’s public meeting.

The team – whose past client cities include Charleston, W.Va., and Beaufort, S.C. – works with communities to develop strategies that enhance economic opportunity while preserving a city or town’s unique character.

The event’s format will depend on how many people show up and the direction of discussion. Dougherty encouraged people to attend the meeting as it will mark Downtown Wheeling’s primary source of public input.

“It will move quickly,” said Dougherty about implementing designs developed during these early stages.

“It will happen in the next few months.”