Downtown Plattsburgh is being redeveloped through the state’s $10 million Downtown Redevelopment Initiative grant. The common council heard a presentation at a recent work session from consultants who are assessing how to brand the area of the city.
The current DRI would create a new residential and commercial building on part of what is currently the Durkee Street Parking lot, move the Farmers’ Market, shift parking and upgrade streetscapes in the downtown center.
In 2018 the city solicited initial bids for a marketing and branding project for the redevelopment and awarded the Boire (boy-yer) Benner Group a contract to gather public input and draft a marketing plan.
Common councilors were updated by Project Manager Libby Quéguiner who outlined the feedback they have received. She said that has led to several concepts including banners that are already being placed in the city. “Phase one is really more of a modern look. It uses elements from the logo and it’s a little bit cleaner, uses photography. Phase two we consider to be more of a historical look. It has a little bit of an aged tannish color and sort of depicts some hand drawings. And we evolved from phase two to phase three and it was such a common thread from a lot of people was that it’s the history that enriches this area. And so we evolved it even more into sort of more of a lithograph image and a little more historic font.”
Queguiner says they have created a brochure for businesses with recommendations that encourage branding consistency. “The purpose of these recommendations is to encourage signage that clearly and simply informs both pedestrians and motorists of businesses names, services but doesn’t detract or interfere with the architectural and historical quality of the downtown Plattsburgh district.”
The Boire Benner study assessed the most appropriate positioning, types and shapes of signs along with alignment of awnings that would match overall branding and city codes. “We also are working on replacing some of the street signs. So those are the green and yellow street signs in the downtown area. Replacing them with something that has more of an historic look and possibly incorporating some of the brand elements. Another thing we’re working on is an interactive map and it would feature businesses, landmarks, walking trails and then also historic markers.”
Mayor Colin Read was curious about overall consistency of any sign standards. “Can the sign standards be consistent with some sort of look and feel and color scheme? You know if you go to like Old Sturbridge Village or Salem, Massachusetts or something a lot of the color schemes and the signage are consistent with some sort of design standards in look and feel.”
Quéguiner: “So we have had a lot of discussion about that and at this point limiting colors we sort of took that off the table. But definitely I think by changing to allow the perpendicular signs, which currently under the code now is not allowed, would just by doing that and changing the street signs and changing all the banners we felt really would be a transformation.”
The goals of the branding effort include creating a cohesive center city identity and increasing tourism opportunities.