Marketing The City

Posted: May 12, 2010 in City Marketing
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One of the very first objectives the Comprehensive Plan suggests is marketing the city.
 

Improve Amsterdam’s Image and Identity in the Region
Market Amsterdam effectively to the Capital District region and beyond. Overcome negative perceptions and emphasize the community’s positive attributes, such as: nice neighborhoods, cultural diversity, beautiful parks, great-tasting and abundant water, excellent golf course, and its location as a gateway to the Adirondacks, Saratoga, and other regional destinations, etc. Align the City more closely with the Capital Region. (Page III-3) 

The subject of marketing came to a crossroads recently during city budget negotiations when the position of Mayor Anne Thane’s Confidential Aide (currently filled by Thom Georgia) was put on the chopping block.  According to Thane, eliminating his position would effectively end the work on the city marketing efforts.   

The Amsterdam Recorder ran this editorial , basically stating that 1) The Mayor’s office should not be handling marketing efforts, it should be done by other agencies and 2) the city isn’t ready to be marketed because there are too many problems that need to be fixed first. 

A contrasting view on the city marketing situation was written on the Sassafras Journal blog (posting under the name “Flippin”). He made a strong argument (in his signature sarcastic style of course) that there is no “magical point” at which we can begin to market Amsterdam.  The city has it’s problems but so does every city, there are still good selling points that can be capitalized on.   He restates his recurring point that many of the problems that need fixing in the city require capital that we just don’t have, so unless we start generating some new income, we’ll never get to fix those problems. 

After reading both these views I decided I had some things to say, but first I wanted to get a better idea about what the Mayor’s office has been working on. I had read that there were marketing materials that had been produced, but I could not find them online anyplace. I called the Mayor’s office about it, and they were very happy to provide me with the materials along with a number of other documents detailing the marketing strategy that was being worked on. Reviewing these materials, I was able to get a better sense of the direction the Mayor is going in. 

Now before I dive into some of the details of the marketing plan, I want to try to qualify myself somewhat to give readers an idea of where I am coming from.  I’ve learned a little bit about marketing over the years running my own business and being involved with the marketing efforts of other businesses.  I know that marketing is more than advertising. Marketing involves any methods used by a business to attract new customers as well as retain existing customers. I also know that successful marketing requires an objective assessment of a businesses strengths and weaknesses. A marketing strategy needs to play to the business’s strengths. If a business invests resources marketing in an area where they can’t compete, often that effort goes to waste. In other words, if you want to compete against a “Walmart”, you’d better have the ability and strength to really do it, otherwise you are wasting your time. Most succesful small to medium businesses don’t compete against the “Walmarts” in their market, they find a niche that they can realistically compete in and focus on that area. 

When I first started my business, I was a weak competitor at best. But what I did was leverage the resources I did have to work my way up.  I was focused on a certain segment of the market that was under-served and I built my client base from there.  The services I provided met or exceeded my customers expectations and as a result, positive word of mouth grew my business as much as any form of advertising I used.   

So I am whole heartedly in favor of marketing the city. I do believe we have enough positives that would  persuade people and businesses to move here (I’ll discuss those positives shortly). I certainly understand some people’s discomfort with the idea given the problems that we have with infrastructure, blighted neighborhoods and graffiti.  In fact, I would say that these problems are marketing issues themselves and need to be worked on with equal priority. For instance, regional media coverage of the fire hydrants problem could easily undermine even the best marketing strategy. That is one issue in particular that needs to be fixed now. But bear in mind that other capital district cities such as Schenectady, Albany and Troy are struggling with similar problems. In many cases, particularly in the area of infrastructure, its lack of capital that holds us back. I agree with Flippin’s take that unless we are able to start generating more revenue, our infrastructure problems are probably only going to get worse.  

In regards to the issue of whether the Mayor should be the one to lead the marketing campaign, I would argue that it is.  The Recorder editorial suggests several organizations to do the job – the Montgomery County Industrial Development Agency, the Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency, and the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. Flippin correctly points out that these organizations have their own goals and priorities. I believe that a multi-faceted marketing plan has to be coordinated from a single authority in order to be effective, and the only authority that is going to be able to do that and make Amsterdam it’s #1 priority is the Mayor’s office. However, all these organizations have a vested interest in seeing Amsterdam succeed, so it seems to me that it would still make sense to partner with and coordinate efforts with them.  I am concerned that I don’t see the Chamber more involved with the process. Also, I don’t see why AIDA  couldn’t be brought on board with the vision and then take on the job of marketing to new businesses. Isn’t that their job anyway?

Finally, I’d like to comment on some of the materials and documents I received from the Mayor’s Office.   According to Mayor Thane, her office has used the packets to directly solicit interest from individual developers & state representatives, at real estate trade shows, and will be used at upcoming promotional events with business & industry leaders. The first piece is an extra-large, full color brochure.

This picture shows the inside pages. Basically the marketing message hits three selling points that I think are right on the money. First, as small city, we are a more close-knit community which differentiates us from larger cities (welcoming). Second, we have a good central geographical location (accessible). Third, due to our low property values and abundance of commercial space, it costs less to buy a home or start a business than in surrounding areas (affordable).  These are solid strengths that Amsterdam has and I don’t think it’s ever the wrong time to promote them.

A set of four single sheet case studies profile successful Amsterdam businesses and include positive quotes from the owners.


This picture shows the front cover of the extra-large brochure on the left, and one of the case studies on the right. Other businesses profiled are Eastern Medical Support, Mohawk Lifts and River Ridge Living Center. The testimonials from the business owners make a strong impression.  

Also included in the packet are four single sheets that highlight the areas of education, economic development, tourism and culture, and quality of life. For the most part I think these sheets are good, they definitely show the best sides of Amsterdam. There are two areas, however, that concern me a bit. I’ll explain…

 
 
This is an excerpt from the “economic development” page. The text does a good job of highlighting the opportunities for businesses considering moving into the area. However the image is obviously an illustration of what our downtown could look like, not the way it actually is. Now the text starts off talking about the revitalization efforts, and I can see that the picture might fit into that context. However, the very first impression I think a person would get from this page would be that this is what downtown Amsterdam looks like, when of course, it does not.

This is the other image that gave me a little trouble. This is an actual picture of our downtown, but it’s closely cropped to give the distinct impression that the woman is walking down the street, checking out all the great shops and such.  Of course we all know that there are only a handful of shops open on that street, and if someone comes in expecting an experience like walking through downtown Saratoga, they will be very disappointed.

I don’t think it’s self-deprecating or anti-progressive to say that we are not ready to market our downtown. This is one area where I think the critics may have a point. Downtown is definitely not one of our strengths and this really is an area that needs a lot of work before it can become truly competitive.  Revitalizing our downtown is a key part of the Comprehensive Plan, but it clearly indicates a need for a sequential approach in this area.

But before the City is considered as a true bedroom community option, it must improve its urbanism. It cannot compete as a bedroom community for those who desire to live in the suburbs or in a rural environment. It must present itself as a vibrant, urban community with all of the benefits that a small city can possess. This will require that the City’s downtown be reestablished as the heart of Amsterdam, with a variety of uses and activities mixed together at a fine grain. (Page IV-12 – emphasis added)

Alternatively, what I would suggest is that for the “economic development” page, use a picture of one of the many fine business spaces that are available to move into. I would also include mention of the abundance of affordable small office space available in buildings such as the Riverfront Center, Noteworthy Business Center and the Clock Tower.

For the “tourism and culture” page, why not use a photo of one of our parks? The ball field at Shuttleworth Park would certainly make a good impression. And let’s be honest too, if I could pick one word to describe Amsterdam culture, I would choose “sports“.  Seriously, I think we may have more ball fields per capita than any surrounding city. Amsterdamians take their sports very seriously! That may seem a bit “proletariat” to some of our more “cultured” citizens, but so what? I would rather attract sports enthusiasts whose expectations will be met, than attract people looking for a Saratoga Springs atmosphere and feel let down.

Finally, coming back to the issue that prompted the discussion, the elimination of the Mayor’s Confidential Aide position. I’m honestly not sure whether it was the right move or not. If some of the work can be picked up by other staff members, and if other agencies can pick up the ball in certain areas, and if maybe other tasks could be done on a contract basis (maybe by Georgia?), then maybe it was the right decision in light of the budget shortfall. However, if the marketing effort does fall by the wayside because of it, then I think that will truly be a loss. Either way, I think the Mayor’s office would do well to get some of these marketing ideas out to the public so that people can get a picture of what is being worked on as well as provide feedback. Developing a sense of “buy in” from the general public takes extra effort, but I think if more people were on board with the idea, it don’t think it would have been such a quick decision to axe the position.

I know I’ve presented a lot here. Please take time to digest and then share your thoughts and impressions!

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Comments
  1. Karin says:

    I absolutely love reading your blog! It is very insiprational. Amsterdam needs more creative minds to pull us through. I always imagine what this city would be like with more positive people pulling for us to move forward. I really like the marketing materials the Mayor has put into effect. Whats left of our downtown could be easily transformed into a “River Street” or “Jay Street”. We need to build it up and go for the “arts district” with little quaint shops, cafes, lounges and bistros. A pedestrian street for sure. No thru traffic. maybe a tree lined center with benches. Hold festivals and concerts in that area. Albany has their Alive At Five every summer and Schenectady has outdoor events on State Street, and Troy also has their festivals during the summer months. Keep up the positive work – we need more people to come forward with like ideas.

  2. Flippin says:

    I think your analysis is spot-on.

    While I’m clearly on board with marketing, I take issue with this in the Comprehensive Plan: “But before the City is considered as a true bedroom community option, it must improve its urbanism. It cannot compete as a bedroom community for those who desire to live in the suburbs or in a rural environment. It must present itself as a vibrant, urban community with all of the benefits that a small city can possess. This will require that the City’s downtown be reestablished as the heart of Amsterdam, with a variety of uses and activities mixed together at a fine grain.”

    I think our definition of “downtown” needs to be changed. I do not think that the current landscape that defines downtown makes it viable. We just do not have enough density to make it work. Maybe I’m jumping ahead but I wanted to put it on the table. If you look at the downtown area via a Google aerial map, you’ll see what I mean– huge parking lots and commercial properties with no residential density.

    Look forward to the next part.

    • Karin says:

      We need to attract young, artsy, BoHo style entrepeneurs to the city. Create an “Arts District”. Lark Street in Albany is a good example of this type of neighborhood. Affordable & cool apartments, lofts, art studios, groovy night clubs, a few funky clothing stores, specialty shops, a feel good vibe and so on.

      • Tim Becker says:

        OK, those are cool ideas. But let me challenge you – how do those ideas go from imagination to reality? Being that we have free enterprise, there is no authority that can just decree that a shop open up here or night club open up there. What is going to create the demand that will drive those types of entrepeneurs here? How does a “boho” culture develop when there is none here to start with?

        I guess where I’m going with this is that I think we are going to have to look for assets that Amsterdam already has and build on them first. I think any entrepenuer who comes is going to need to be OK with good ol’ Amsterdam culture just the way it is now.

      • Karin says:

        These ideas would possibly work if advertised and marketed in the right way. Our ‘downtown’ area needs a few savy investors to design loft style apartments or suites in the upper floors of the remaining buildings. Attractive apartments & rents could bring in some college students from FMCC or SCCC or maybe even Union. We need to make people aware of how close Amsterdam is to the larger cities that surround us. If we can attract a younger demographic to this city, the shops, cafes, and enternment venues ( I think ) would follow. As it is now, when a younger person wants to go out on the weekend, they will drive to Saratoga, Albany or Schenectady to go to a nightclub. They will also drive to these places to shop. I surprised that no private investors are trying to bring the ‘downtown’ area back to life again. Oh, If I only had the money . . .

      • Tim Becker says:

        You know, I think of all the students living in the dorms up by FMCC and there’s *nothing* for them up there. They are surrounded by farms. Maybe you are on to something because I think compared to there, living in our downtown even the way it is right now seems downright exciting! There’s a pizza shop, book store, library around the corner, and the FMCC campus in the Riverfront Center too. I think a college student would certainly prefer that over living amongst the fields. An influx of college students would definitely bring more businesses in.

        So there’s still a “chicken or egg” type of problem to get worked through. How do you get building owners to build *affordable* loft apartments when there’s no clear demand for them? How do you create a demand (through marketing) for the apartments when there’s no apartments?

    • Tim Becker says:

      It’s something to chew on. I’m chewing…

      • Karin says:

        Don’t forget the Pool Hall! And the empty ‘Cinema’s’ in the RFC. Perhaps someone could re-open them and have discounted movies like they have in Scotia or at Proctors. Hey, you gotta start somewhere! What about the grants for the ‘downtown’ area?

      • Karin says:

        . . .and the Library!

      • Flippin says:

        Tim,

        Let me try to clarify my point a bit on “density”. Let me also add that this is a bit anecdotal so it does need a bit more rigor but here it is anyway.

        By density, I refer more to population density and residential density. In my mind, I think we need to adopt some of the ideas of new urbanism that try to blend residential, retail and commercial with a certain density or mass so that they are largely self-sustaining or that they draw people in. At the heart of new urbanism, you also see an emphasis on walkability versus drivability.

        What concerns me with the focus on downtown, per my definition, is that the area seems isolated and even if a core were to form, to where could it expand? It could not. This seems like a structural issue with revitalizing the few blocks west of the mall. Also, we have serious issues with walkability in the area that I define as downtown. Maybe I’m neurotic but even taking your small kids from the library parking lot to the library front door causes you to tense up as cars go whizzing by at 40 plus MPH. What we largely have in our downtown is an area optimized for drivability versus walkability; in essence, we have suburbanized downtown when we should have urbanized it. We have the perfect design to get you through and out of downtown in the least amount of time versus slowing you down and drawing you in and making you stay for the maximum amount of time.

        Again the above is anecdotal but I think if you ask locals and visitors how comfortable they are walking and staying downtown, I think you will you find that walkability is not so great. I think it applies largely as well to the map that Jerry provided as much of the expanded area defined as downtown has limited walkability. I’m still pondering the zoning districts but the prior jumped out at me in looking at the map.

        Now the challenge is how do you jumpstart a “downtown” as it is true that a city does need a core or center and we have no such thing. Again I think we have failed to consider livability or residential development instead myopically focusing on commercial and retail development. I think we need to flip it around and drive residential development and in some way, drive urban residential development.

        I agree that students, given their age, make a demographic much needed to revitalize the city. However, students typically do not have sufficient disposable incomes to support loft style living so as much as I’d like to buy-in to the student market, I think it has some issues especially since students need a way to commute to class and largely be integrated into the broader college community. Again, a bit anecdotal but I think correct.

        Now this where I get a bit stuck as I do not know the strategy and marketing to jumpstart creation of the downtown. That said, I have a few principles in trying to figure it out:
        1) Find success stories in other cities: what can we learn? what were the success drivers? what were the fail drivers?
        2) What is the market niche for Amsterdam in the local area: how do we differentiate ourselves in a positive way from other locales? (BTW, I like your sports concept) how do we position ourselves given trends
        3) Drive walkability and adopt relevant concepts from new urbanism
        4) Innovate ruthlessly to solve problems: rehashing old strategies and old ideas gets us nowhere
        5) Drive change from the outside: rely on small groups of change agents; bypass keepers of the old guard; more private versus public initiatives
        6) Challenge status quo and reject zero growth thinking ; demand side versus supply side policies
        7) Embrace shifts in technology: how do we draw service industries in technology and other high growth industries here?

        Finally, we are dealing with a complex and long term effort to create a downtown and then make it work. No matter what we do I think we need some immediate and short-term wins that demonstrate progress toward the long term goal. I think this is also tricky as some wins are quite difficult and when they are not being maligned, they sometimes get lost in the day-to-day.

        I’ll comment more on the proposed zoning as I think through some questions.

      • Karin says:

        If they decide to move the Train station (Transportation hub) back into the downtown area, this would make for a great commute for college students to Schenectady. They could give Student discounts for riding the rail to and from school. Thus, they wouldn’t need to have a car, since both SCCC and Union campuses are walkable from the Schenectady Train station.

        I had an Antique Store in the same location as the new Book Store downtown a few years ago. The owner of the building had received a “grant” to fix the upper floors of this building. The apartments are beautiful! They are a ‘NYC railroad style apt’s’. Long and narrow, all hardwood floors, beautiful woodwork, overlooking the river, very chic. It can be done.

        . . . and what does Schenectady have (besides Proctor’s Theatre) that we don’t have? It would take just one large business to locate into the ‘downtown’ area to start a transformation. A State Office or something key. If we had something like that, I would imagine all the rest would follow.

      • Tim Becker says:

        @Flippin –
        For me, walkability around downtown is OK, walking *to* downtown from any surrounding residential area, especially from Market Hill area, is an adventure. Certainly there needs to be improvement there.

        Unfortunately, it looks like alot of infrastructure decisions that were made in the 70′s we now wish we could undo. But we have what we have. Is it any wonder that people, especially older folks, are slow to buy-in to big changes? The last “big idea” turned out to be a bust.

        As far as choosing a new downtown center – From a cultural perspective, I think most people look at the Main St area as our “downtown”. Partly due to it’s history, and partly due to the fact that you have the library, post office, public safety building, RFC and all major highways running through that area. A successful revitalization project will be hard enough to accomplish. I think convincing people to change their perception of where the downtown center is would be even harder. I think most people are at least onboard with the idea of revitalizing Main St. Success there would be a huge moral booster and could very well create the momentum for revitalization in other areas too. Trying to build a case to move the center somewhere else may very well cause division and confusion. That’s my take, ancedotal as well.

        Remember too, there is the Bridge St. area which many people also have high hopes for. If the pedestrian bridge can be extended to connect Bridge St and Main St., then you would no longer have an “island”.

        In regards to the student idea – they are paying something already to live in the FMCC affiliated dorms. If apartments on Main St were in the same range, I think they would be very attractive to students. If trendy loft apartments are too expensive, then maybe they are not what needs to be built. Also, there is a bus stop right by the RFC. If there’s not already a line to FMCC, I’m sure getting one started would not be the hardest task. Also, with the FMCC campus at RFC, they could even walk to some of their classes.

        @Karin – so there are actually remodeled apartments ready to be rented? That’s interesting. Do you know how much they go for? Is anyone renting them right now?

        What does Schenectady have that Amsterdam doesn’t? Well, alot I think : ) They have an active, exciting downtown with lots of shops and stores and stuff. Sorry, I think it’s a little too optimistic to compete directly against Schenectady in that particular department just *yet*.

  3. Again, I think we should rely on what was already developed and included in our city Charter. This would require no new legislation and could be the marketing component that we are missing. It is the link of communication between all of the agencies responsible for revitalization.

    Article XXII – Community and Economic Development Department
    § C-149 Establishment of the Department
    A Community and Economic Development Department shall be headed by an Administrator appointed by the Mayor, with Common Council approval, for a term of office coterminous with the Mayor’s term, to serve at the Mayor’s pleasure.
    § C-150 Duties of the Administrator
    The duties of the Administrator shall be as follows:
    A. To act as a full-time administrator of the Urban Renewal Agency and Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency offices to ensure a coordinated and comprehensive approach to community and economic development within the City of Amsterdam.
    B. To develop and administer a combined and integrated staff to support the Urban Renewal Agency, Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency and other community-based programs recognized by the Common Council.
    C. To administer and keep detailed financial records according to generally accepted accounting principles for each of the above respective departments, programs and volunteer initiatives.
    D. To aggressively seek, prepare, review and administer all aspects of grants sought by the City of Amsterdam and maintain detailed financial and administrative records of every grant received by the City.
    E. To appoint, with the Mayor’s approval, project managers when grant budgets permit for various projects that may come under the jurisdiction of this Department, after seeking the advice of the Board of Directors of the agency involved.
    F. To oversee all volunteer community-based initiatives, recognized by resolution of the Common Council, and to provide administrative services and technical support to the various community-based initiatives so recognized.
    G. To coordinate the financial affairs of the Community and Economic Development Department with the City Controller.
    H. To assist the City Planning Commission in updating the City’s current Master Plan.
    I. To advise and coordinate with City and county planning offices.
    J. To undertake any other community and economic development duties deemed necessary by the Mayor.

    • Tim Becker says:

      Do you know what happenned with this position and why it isn’t currently filled? Seems like it would be a salaried job, right? I would think it would be at least as much as what was requested for Thom Georgia’s job.

      • I think the Common Council refused to fund it, meanwhile I read in today’s Recorder that the Director of AIDA makes $90,000. a year!

        Now they want Montgomery County to take over their Marketing and Development duties. Why have an Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency if they are not willing to do the job?

      • Tim Becker says:

        Yeah, the proposal would pretty much hand over all of AIDA’s duties to the county. Sounds like AIDA is trying to disband itself.

    • Diane says:

      As explained by Bob Going on Venner Vox, this article of the charter was eliminated by local law several years ago and still stands.

  4. […] by a must-read post on the Comprehensive Plan by Tim at Pars Nova (here), I’d like to challenge our notion of downtown and its viability as the urban center. Take a […]

  5. Diane says:

    The salary for the AIDA executive director is incorrect. I think if you ck, the director, his secretary and expense might be 90,000.00.

  6. Karin says:

    Tim,

    It’s been about 4 1/2 years now since ‘Main Street Antiques’. But during our time at this location, our landlord had received a grant to fix the facade of the building and the upper floors (Emmanuel was the Mayor then). The apartments were completely renovated and were being rented out while we were there. If I remember correctly, they were going for aprox. $600. per month. They were absolutely gorgeous! I have no idea if they are being rented today, but I do remember that the landlord did a fabulous job.

    • Tim Becker says:

      According to FMCC‘s web site, students pay $485/month for housing at the dorms, and that’s with sharing a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. So $600 isn’t out of the ballpark.

  7. Flippin says:

    Tim,

    I admit my argument is a tough sell and risky. I only put it forward based upon 3 observations:
    1) The pedestrian bridge, the train station, and almost any infrastructure initiative are multi-year projects that ultimately the city does not control nor can they enable. If we want to revitalize, we (the city) needs to “own it”. That is why Schenectady is rebounding because they “own it”.
    2) I’m not opposed to large initiatives or public programs for economic development. That said, why not consider small scale initiatives self-managed by the local public and private efforts versus relying solely on large scale efforts that are at best tentative. Again, the city needs to “own” the process versus letting the process own us
    3) Sometimes you just have to start with a clean slate or a new set of assumptions. For example, why think we need just a downtown, why not develop districts that are smaller and self-sustaining but part of a larger fabric. For example, we can keep a downtown commercial district with a train station and ped bridge and maybe it will utterly turn itself around. But why not also jumpstart development in other areas because maybe they will turn into something too. Why just exclusively focus on a handful of blocks ignoring how the blocks fit into the overall fabric?

    • LucidDreamer says:

      Fabulous Idea Flippin, Lets seed different parts of the city and watch them grow. If successful, re-seed another area and all of the sudden we’ve a victory garden. Also, we must own our city, if only the city had the money to demolish and re-develope itself it is a strong possibility that amsterdam may be able to recover from this abandonment of population. As I see it though, our taxes really can only sustain all the employees of the city and there’s nothing left for development or marketing. We’ve problems that cannot be fixed by government and basically the community has given up. The clean landful everyone is talking about lately could potentially be a band-aid and buy us time but I see it as a one trick pony that will ridden to a old nag destined for the glue factory.

      • Tim Becker says:

        Oh, don’t get Flippin started on the subject of demolition : ) – If you are up for it, you can read his views and follow some intense debating on the subject on his old blog here.

        That said, I agree with two points – government can’t fix everything. We’ve got to have community and business leaders step up. And great metaphor about the dump idea!

    • Tim Becker says:

      All fine ideas. I don’t have a problem with any of them. I think multiple small scale projects in multiple locations would be great. I’m all for private initiatives too. Smaller projects would be less risky I think. However, if you are truly suggesting having simultaneous projects, you will need to have visionary minded leaders with strong followings for each project. I’m wondering how feasible that is? Might it be more feasible to get one group together that will work on one small project to start with? That would help make the chances of an inital sucess greater. With that sucess, then extend the idea to other areas.

      I don’t think reviving Main St. would necessarily have to involve large changes in infrastructure initially. Although maybe we should both clarify what we consider a large project or small project? Couldn’t Main St. be one of, if not the first of the many small projects you are talking about? I can’t help but think success there would have the biggest symbolic impact out of any other area and would provide the most amount of momentum to continue on with other projects.

      • Flippin says:

        Tim,

        Leadership is key; no question especially from the private sector.

        I view large versus small not exclusively in dollars but in time and impact: why not find some projects that you can execute within 6 to 12 months that make a difference in their immediate area?

        Visible, small, immediate wins generate some momentum to pursue larger, riskier projects.

  8. Flippin says:

    Lucid,

    Nice metaphor for the dump. I’m not onboard with demolition as a strategy but admit that it needs to be applied tactically.

    As far as the dump, I’m skeptical as well as I have not seen any financials reflecting the business plan for the dump (revenues, cost assumptions, pricing, competitors, inflow assumptions, and on) nor a fair assessment of the economic costs incurred by those near the dump. I instinctively question any financials put forward unless someone can show me their numbers. Usually challenging anyone on the opposite side to articulate their numbers results in, “We have numbers but you’ll need to wait to see them. We’ll get back to you” And that’s the last you’ll hear.

    • LucidDreamer says:

      Flippin,
      I read your blog after the spinners are done butcherin the facts just to verify that I’m not crazy. Many times I agree with you and sometimes I don’t but that’s how it goes. All apologies for my grammer, punctuation and spelling. Metaphores tend to have more of an impact when you don’t come across as missing a facetooth. ; )

      Now my question to you or Tim is this: Who would be the most logical business representative or committee to step up to the plate and bring the city into the 21st century? I ask this because as I see it we’re about 25 to 30 years behind the 8 ball. I’m not the “one” but there is strength in numbers,even the politicians know that!

      Also, small projects do indeed have that immediate impact you mentioned but we surely can’t afford to wait any longer. I guess I’m being impatient because currently all I see is people draggin their feet. Too much posturing and no real boxing match. Our elected officials at some point need to produce, do they not? As I’ve said before, at this point they’re scrambling with the sole intention being self-preservation. There is NO money!

      • Tim Becker says:

        Very good question – I’m not sure if a clear non-government leader or committee exists yet that can really put some of these ideas into action, and that’s part of the fustration.

        What will need to happen soon is for these ideas to move from the imagination phase to the implementation phase. And that will take having a well thought out plan of action with clear goals and an honest assessment as to how the resources needed (ie people and money) will be acquired.

        Even for a small project, you are going to need a leader with credibility, experience, and some personal charisma to get a team together. This leader will need to present a solid plan that the team believes can actually be accomplished.

        By my own assessment, I’m really not the ideal choice – My business experience is intermediate at best and I really don’t have that “magnetic” personality that makes it easy for some to gather groups. However, I do have some ideas for some small initiatives that I am almost ready to talk about and take some solid action steps on. I’ll keep you posted.

        Some food for thought: Ballston Spa Business and Professional Association.

  9. Flippin says:

    Lucid,

    I’m not the grammar police by the way 😉

    I think the movement does not exist and ideally would be a whole new set of players. I think there are alliances to be made with existing groups but it really needs to be its own engine.

    LIke most things, the implementation and execution is where it gets tricky. I’m working through a related idea so I’ll post something in the next few days that might give you a sense of where my thinking is heading.

  10. […] take: That’s a pretty cool recognition for the city, but what does it mean? I was reminded of this post made by Tim Becker on his blog, Pars Nova, more than a year ago, which offered a nice insight into marketing efforts and included a fantastic […]

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