The city of Brookings will hold a special city council work session and meeting to address tourism promotion and advertising opportunities, among other upcoming issues.
The meeting is slated for 4 p.m. Aug. 6 at City Hall on Elk Drive.
The city is looking for a new way to draw visitors – and potential residents – to town, since Brookings and the Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce no longer have a contract with one another to conduct those activities. The city opted out of the long-running contract, saying it was more comfortable with a one-year deal, rather than the five-year deals under which the chamber and city have worked before.
Monday, city councilors will discuss an array of opportunities, including working with the Port of Brookings Harbor and other regional entities, advertising with such publications as Oregon Coast magazine, a marketing initiative proposed by the Curry Coastal Pilot, and pursuing its own marketing plan.
The city submitted a draft proposal to the Port of Brookings Harbor last month after the two entities agreed they might be able to fashion a promotional operation together. The port board decided to defer the conversation until it has a more detailed business plan with which to work.
The city staff has also developed an outline of services it could undertake itself; those ideas will be outlined at the meeting, as well.
City Manager Gary Milliman said the city needs to be involved in both visitor services and tourism promotion.
Tourism promotion, he said, is the vehicle that gets people to visit Brookings, and includes advertising, participation in trade shows and coordinating with regional marketing efforts.
Visitor services involve activities directed toward tourists who are already here, including having an information center, providing maintenance throughout town to make people feel as if they are safe and in an attractive environment and improving customer service.
Sales representatives from Oregon Coast magazine have contacted city officials regarding upcoming advertisements, but the city has, so far, opted not to renew their contracts.
Charlie Kocher, publisher of the Curry Coastal Pilot, also submitted a proposal to create a “Visit us in Brookings” promotion involving various publications and online ads, postcards and vacation guides.
Those medium would target people from the Rogue Valley, which represent half of the southern coast’s tourism traffic, friends and relatives of Brookings’ area residents, travelers on the Highway 101 corridor and visitors already thinking about Brookings.
Chris Vanderschaff of Apple Box Media Group in Redding, Calif., also submitted a proposal to create six video spots depicting local residents explaining why they moved to Brookings. His idea isn’t geared toward attracting tourists, but new residents. The videos would be posted on YouTube, Facebook, the city’s website and other sites.
Or, the city could go it alone.
A draft proposal councilors will discuss outlines the creation of a Tourism Promotion Advisory Committee, a five-member group that would contract providers to develop a tourism program. This committee could include the city manager, two representatives of the lodging industry and one each from food and beverage and retail business and work in conjunction with the port.
The city will also consider developing a Visitor Enhancement Program, including the establishment of a visitor information center at city hall, creating a brochure listing businesses, amenities and services in town, developing a historic walking tour and improving the website and town signage.
Another amenity other cities use is an interactive information kiosk that not only assists with visitors’ questions, but gleans demographic information from them for use in future promotion.
The city could also develop or improve existing amenities such as parks and athletic fields, reinstate a visitors’ center at state park beaches featuring the coast’s logging or Indian heritage; and create a city icon, such as has been done with “flying pigs” in Cincinnati, Ohio, Yachats’ “La-de-da!” flags or the Evergreen Bank Bears, dozens of fiberglass, painted bears that drew numerous tourists to Brookings three years ago.
In other business, the city will discuss, and possibly award, contracts to various companies to build a new emergency operations center (EOC).
The city of Brookings received three bids for the facility, which is different from a 911 communications center in that multiple agencies or organizations involved in a major incident are coordinated at such a center.
A major incident could be a natural disaster, widespread power outage, hazardous material spill or other incident that involves multiple emergency responders.
Decision makers from each department or agency meet at an EOC to evaluate information, set priorities, manage resources, coordinate resources and request additional assistance from regional and state agencies.
The city was awarded a $350,000 grant toward costs of the center, for which the city is required to provide a 20 percent match, increasing the expense by $116,667 to $466,667.
Past bids, ranging from $40,000 to $112,500, were rejected by the City Council.
By making design modifications, the city rebid the project with city officials serving as the project manager and received three bids to consider. Total construction cost is now $232,130. Staff has recommended the city grant awards to six companies, five of which are local firms.