Downtown Brandon is "the place for people."
It is with those words that Renaissance Brandon is attempting to re-brand the Wheat City's historic business district.
In launching the first of several initiatives aimed at bringing people flooding back to the downtown, Renaissance Brandon's board members gathered at the corner of 10th Street and Rosser Avenue yesterday morning to unveil new street signs that dub the district as "The Downtown Hub."
The signs, which will hang on every corner from Sixth Street to 13th Street and from Pacific Avenue to Lorne Avenue, are just the beginning of their re-branding work, board chair Vince Barletta said.
"A simple sign and a slogan don't change downtown by themselves," he said. "But what these street signs that we hung today are representative of is a new vision and a new energy that we see coming in downtown Brandon."
The re-branding initiative also includes new, bright red benches and bike racks that will line the downtown's busiest streets and window stickers that downtown merchants will be encouraged to put up in their store windows.
"I'm glad to see something such as this logo as a fresh, new idea," downtown jeweler John Zeke notes.
"It is something that, as a merchant, I can incorporate into my advertising and my image that I'd like to portray for downtown Brandon."
"I'm a huge fan of branding," added Town Centre manager and former Renaissance Brandon board member Marlow Kirton.
"It's really important to marry vision with a brand with absolute execution. Part of getting people interested in downtown is allowing them to relate to it, to give them something to latch on to."
About $80,000 will be spend on the re-branding project.
In the new year, Renaissance Brandon will also be launching a free, wi-fi network in the higher traffic areas of the downtown, at a cost of $60,000.
The wi-fi network could also provide the platform for installing surveillance cameras in high traffic areas like Princess Park or the new Kristopher Campbell Memorial Skateboard Plaza, explains the city's downtown development specialist, Braden Pilling.
"The surveillance cameras could be used for a number of things, not just safety," he said. "It could also be used as a live feed for, say, at Princess Park. People at home would go, 'Holy cow! Look at all the people downtown. That looks great, I'm going to come on down.' So it can he a promotional tool as well."
Renaissance Brandon is also in the midst of putting together a secondary land use plan at a cost of $75,000, which would better define the downtown's specific land issues and recommend to city council where specific commercial and residential development should take place.