Cowboys won’t be seen riding Mount Airy greenways to rope cattle for heated irons, but an effort is under way to brand the city’s trail system for tourism and marketing purposes.
This involves recently announced plans for a contest inviting the public to suggest names and logos for the greenway network for a $100 prize sponsored by The Resource Institute.
“Branding is a great idea when you have the opportunity to do so,” city parks and Recreation Director Catrina Alexander said of a process that involves devising names, symbols or designs that identify and differentiate products — in this case, recreational facilities — from others.
“We have been discussing the advantages of branding the greenway system for the purposes of destination marketing and regional recognition,” Alexander added of an effort by the Mount Airy Parks and Recreation Commission, a city advisory group.
She brought the branding/logo contest proposal to the city council earlier this month, where it received unanimous approval.
However, this did not occur without some citizen reaction, with one woman shouting from the audience in protest of any plan to tinker with the name of the Emily B. Taylor Greenway. It honors a late former mayor and city commissioner who was a huge recreation advocate.
Alexander quickly allayed such fears.
“None of the names of the existing greenways will be changed,” she assured.
In addition to the Taylor greenway, the city system includes the Ararat River Greenway on the opposite end of town and work is now under way to connect the two. When this is done by the end of 2016, there will be a multi-purpose paved trail of nearly seven continuous miles.
Another plan is in the works to extend the Ararat River Greenway north to White Sulphur Springs, which will increase the total to around 10 miles.
“Therefore, we feel that there is great merit in creating a system-wide name for our greenway,” Alexander states in a city government memo, “developing a ‘brand’ in which we are better able to market and advertise this wonderful resource.”
Other communities have launched similar initiatives for their greenway systems, including the Little Sugar Creek Greenway in Charlotte and the Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville, S.C., according to Alexander.
Alexander says it was the consensus of the city parks and recreation group to have citizens participate in the greenway naming and logo contest for the $100 award sponsored by The Resource Institute. It is a non-profit organization based in Winston-Salem which Mount Airy officials have enlisted to seek grants for local greenway work over the years.
Whoever submits the winning entry also will be recognized by the community and receive a Friends of Parks and Greenways T-shirt and a goody basket.
The deadline for entries is May 18.
In addition to the name, an “iconic logo” is sought which reflects the spirit and visual representation of what the greenway system means to the community.
Contest rules are:
• The logo must be suitable for both web, print and signage capabilities as well as for apparel and other marketing items;
• Logo files must be submitted in both black and white and color and in a vector format, eps or .ai, and also must include a .jpg and .tif version;
• The city of Mount Airy will retain the rights and use of the image;
• Names suggested must not duplicate a segment of trail;
• Suggested names may not be those of persons or vulgar in meaning, name or suggestion;
• All entries must include a greenway name and logo submission, but contest participants may submit more than one logo under the same greenway name;
• One person may submit multiple entries as long as a greenway name and corresponding logo are included;
• All submissions must include the name, address, telephone number and email address of the person making those submissions.
• Entries must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org via email by the contest deadline.
The submissions will be assessed by a team of panelists to determine the winner.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.