The Red Deer Downtown Business Association wants to create a positive identity for the historic heart of the city.
Executive director Amanda Gould told city council this week that $10,000 is earmarked for a project that will counter some negative public perceptions.
While the city’s core has suffered from social disorder issues, Gould believes it’s a safe, welcoming place with many positive things happening — and there’s a need to let people know about them.
The scope of the project is yet to be determined. Gould told council she will confer with city staff about what was done in previous identity branding efforts.
Money for the campaign — which Gould hopes will be put into action by next summer — will come from a higher downtown business levy.
The requisition, which also helps pay for some destination advertising campaigns, was raised by 2.4 per cent this week.
Gould said the size of the levy depends on the size of the business, but the minimum went up to $192 from a previous $187.
The association operates with a budget of $672,000. About $419,000 comes from collected levies and the rest is made up from a contract with the city, grants and sponsorships.
Members of city council asked Gould whether the association could do more to help attract new businesses to the downtown.
They also questioned the small raises staff received, in light of the stalled economy and many other employee salary freezes.
Gould noted wages were increased by about one per cent after an independent contractor did a salary comparison and found local wages were slightly below where they should be.
While she would like to attract new businesses to the downtown, she added the association’s staff of four spend most of their time trying to meet the needs of existing businesses.