WHEELING - City officials unveiled a pair of promotional videos Tuesday portraying Wheeling as a progressive, pro-business community and a haven where people can live, work and play.
Organizations such as the Regional Economic Development Partnership, the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce and Wheeling Ohio-County Convention and Visitors Bureau plan to use the videos as tools to attract visitors and job creators. Mayor Andy McKenzie believes it's an effective way to promote the city to developers in an age when developers do much of their research on the Internet.
"Our role is to bring jobs here, to bring businesses here," said RED Business Development Specialist Joelle Ennis. "To us, that's what this video is, and that's how it will be used."
The project cost about $44,300 and took a year to complete, with the city of Wheeling contributing $15,300 through a Local Economic Development Grant from the West Virginia Development Office. City Manager Robert Herron said five other entities kicked in about $5,800 each, including RED, the CVB, the Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio County Development Authority and the Wheeling National Heritage Area Corp.
"A New Wheeling," the longer of the two videos at about 5 minutes, is narrated by Wheeling-born actor John Corbett, who played starring roles in the 2002 film "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and on the TV series "Sex and the City" and "Northern Exposure."
The second video, about 2 minutes long, covers much of the same ground, but with more of a focus on overcoming challenges and hard times. At one point, it proclaims, "Here we are - on the rise, leading again."
"We've acknowledged some of our faults, and I think that's part of it," McKenzie said.
Wheeling-based Beyond Marketing produced, wrote and directed the videos, which were filmed by another Wheeling company, Grindley Productions. Local musician Jamie Peck composed an original score for the videos, with Zee Photo & Productions providing historic photographs and film footage.
"There's a lot of work that goes into a project like this ... but we're proud of the product we've delivered," said John Culler, president of Beyond Marketing.
The videos can be viewed on the websites of the participating agencies, and they also will be posted online.