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Updating the Mecklenburg County’s brand

South Boston NewsSouth Boston News
SoVaNow.com / December 12, 2012
New logos and a promotional tagline for Mecklenburg County were unveiled at the monthly meeting of the Board of Supervisors Monday night in Boydton.

Adam Mead from Yogg — the consulting firm hired to create the brand — explained to the supervisors, “A few months ago we started on the process of developing a brand and a logo for the county. We ended up with two — one brand to promote tourism in the county and then a second to promote economic development.”

The tourism logo is a circle surrounding a stylized M, with artwork that invokes the recreational opportunities of the Lake Country — specifically, fishing.

Mead described it as a “suite of icons that get across the message of all the great things in the county.” A brand is “something that encompasses things such as reputation, perceptions, and services. It is a promise, a level of expectation of what people are going to do, feel like, or enjoy as they interact with you.”

Since Mecklenburg County encompasses more than just the lakes or outdoor recreation sites, the icon can be changed to promote a specific activity or reason to travel to Mecklenburg County. “Different choices are great because they can apply to where we want to market. On the tourism side we want to show everything we have to offer,” Mead told the supervisors.

He added that Mecklenburg’s tourism tagline, “Life Happens Off the Path,” is a reflection of both the target audience— people who enjoy a relaxed, non-commercialized getaway — and the county’s attributes of hidden gems, scenic drives, small quaint town, and outdoor recreation.

The second logo, for economic development, again employs the design of a stylized M inside a circle, followed by the words “Mecklenburg County Virginia” and a different tagline, “Your Path to Profit.”

With the message, Mecklenburg County is conveying through its economic development logo that it is “ready for business, ready for life,” said Mead. The design communicates strength, opportunity, and digital capabilities, he said, while the tagline “Your path to profit,” suggests the ability to get businesses up and running very quickly.

When asked why Mecklenburg County should have two logos, Mead said, “Remember, you are speaking to two different people at different times.”

Supervisor Dan Tanner expressed concern with using only a stylized letter M on some of the designs without the words “Mecklenburg County, Virginia.” He said he did not want anyone to confuse the county with Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

Sherry Swinson, representing a six county-one city regional marketing alliance formerly known as Transtech, announced that her group, too, has rebranded.

The initial name, Transtech, was picked to highlight the two strengths the alliance wanted to convey — technology, and transportation. However, that name did not identify the Alliance’s location or its legacy as a center for agriculture and manufacturing.

The new logo — a V formed from pictures of industries identified with Southern Virginia, such as timber and tobacco, as well as its name and tagline “Cultivate Success with . . . Virginia’s Growth Alliance” — identifies both the area’s role in history and the future of the region, Swinson said. A mix of colors — tobacco brown, lake blue and an earthy green — also help identify the region, according to Swinson.

In the supervisors’ other business, Floyd Edmonds of Southside Rescue Squad was granted a special exception permit to erect a 400’ radio tower on Rt. 1 North near Taylor Rd. The permit is conditioned upon proof that the tower will not interfere with flight plans with the regional airport.

Supervisors adopted an ordinance to assess a $3 fee on certain filings made in the District or Circuit Courts of Mecklenburg County beginning January 1, 2013. The money will be used for the maintenance and upkeep of the County Courts.

The ordinance calls for the Clerk of Court to collect an additional $3 “as part of the costs in (i) each civil action filed in the District or Circuit Courts of Mecklenburg County and (ii) each criminal or traffic case in the District or Circuit court in which the defendant is charged with a violation of any statute or ordinance.”

School Superintendent James Thornton said that construction of elementary school additions for La Crosse, Clarksville, and Chase City was eminent. In fact, the school was having trailers at Chase City and La Crosse moved during the upcoming Christmas school holiday.

Thornton also said he wanted to clear up several rumors. “We are looking at every area in order to be fiscally responsible.” One of the areas is food services. The school board is looking into outsourcing the food served by the cafeteria, but not the cafeteria workers.

“I already met with the cafeteria workers before the Thanksgiving break. I told them we are looking into this because our students wanted to know if we could do anything about the quality of food. I told them [the cafeteria workers] they will all remain Mecklenburg school employees, and that we are only looking into improving the quality of the food.” He also promised to “put it in writing” that the cafeteria workers would remain employees of the school system even if the food service is outsourced.

Thornton said outsourcing the food services would not save money.

He also said the school board was investigating whether to outsource the schools’ transportation. Thornton said there would likely be a $220,000 increase in transportation costs in the next budget year because of the need to lease new school buses. “Any company that comes in will have to take over the fuel costs, bus purchases and hiring and pay for bus drivers.”

Supervisor Bill Blalock conveyed concerns from his constituents living near the shuttered Buckhorn Elementary School. He said, “I’m told it is not being maintained. It looks like a wilderness; the grass needs to be cut. It’s an eyesore for the community.” Thornton promised to look into it.

Transportation — outsourcing is also being investigated in this area. $220,000 is the amount of increase in transportation that will be in this upcoming year’s budget because of a new lease. Bus drivers get no benefits only hourly wages. If the schools can save money by outsourcing, they will but the bus drivers will no longer be employees of school. Any company that comes in must take over fuel costs, bus purchases, and bus driver hiring and pay. Hargrave asked what that means to our maintenance department.

Finally, Thornton asked the supervisors to again consider serving on a joint education committee comprised of school trustees and supervisors. He also suggested three meetings times for the upcoming year: March, July and October. Supervisors took no action relative to that request.

Laura Pittard, Heather Tuck and Karla Gravitt, and students from both Park View and Bluestone middle schools’ Project Based Learning showed off some of their recent work.

Bluestone students shared a mural they created from Island Creek Park in honor of the veterans who will be using the handicapped accessible park. The mural is filled with symbols the students believe represent the soldiers — a flag for freedom, a poppy flower for those who were injured, the sun for their willingness to press on, and the lake for the park being constructed by Vets On A Roll, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the local American Legion and VFW Posts.

Park View students described two math projects. One involved the creation and use of a checkbook. The other involved learning fractions by writing a story about fractions.

Cecil Diggs, a local pastor, spoke about the need for classrooms at the new Meherrin River Regional Jail, and Angie Kellett shared a recent experience trying to qualify an 18-mile segment of the Meherrin River as a Virginia Scenic River.

On Nov. 30, Kellett was notified that the Department of Conservation and Recreation Board unanimously voted to include Mecklenburg’s stretch of the river in the designation of State Scenic River.

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