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OPPJ Considers Funding Project to Give Region an Identity

The Ouachita Parish Police Jury held their regular meeting on Monday, addressing project updates and even hearing a presentation on a new branding project in the works.
MONROE -- The Ouachita Parish Police Jury held their regular meeting on Monday, addressing project updates and even hearing a presentation on a new branding project in the works.

A representative with the North Louisiana Economic Partnership, Christine Rambo, presented a project that could help give the area a brand identity.

This project will highlight positive assets in a four parish region, including Ouachtia, Lincoln, Union and Morehouse Parishes. The program was developed by a coalition of partners including local chambers of commerce and other municipalities.

The goal, is to recruit and retain workforce to some major employers, especially as CenturyLink expands their headquarters.

"This came as an outcry from the employers wanting help, needing a way to present our positives to potential recruits. Once they’re here and we’re able to show them the positive aspects of our community, they’re sold,” Rambo said during the meeting. "The challenge they're running into is finding the qualified workforce they need to expand and be successful.“

Rambo says this could also help current residents more greatly appreciate their community.

"We are actually on  a wonderful precipice because for the first time, we have a national TV show that highlights our region, we have expanding employers and we really have some great momentum going on with revitalization of our downtown so really now is the time to reach out and tell our story and market ourselves to the rest of the world," said Rambo.

Project supporters say with the absence of a brand or identity for this region, that leaves it up to interpretation or assumption, and could allow for the area to be defined by negative stories such as crime and litter.

"It's something that I believe in, and it's certainly something that I think North Louisiana could benefit from. We want the opportunity to tell our story, and not leave it up to social media or others," said Pat Moore of OPP District F. "I'm hoping all of the municipalities throughout the area will give it some consideration."

Organizers say they've received positive feedback as they continue to make they're presentations to different municipalities.

"The branding project, with the goal of not only recruiting workforce, but retaining our existing workforce, would tell a better story, help highlight all the positive aspects that we have going for ourselves," said Rambo. "This is a way to help our community tell a very positive story in order to recruit new families to move here, to work for our  major employers."

The marketing plan will cost around $200,000 to develop and would be run by a nationally renowned branding firm. On Monday, the organization asked OPPJ to contribute $50,000.

The group will also look into federal grants and other means of obtaining funding.

Municipalities and organizations that have been asked to pledge support will have about two months to make a decision. Moore says the OPPJ will discuss it and put it back on the agenda.

Other items from tonight's agenda included an update on certain projects in the city.

The Town And Country and Raccoon Bayou/Tanglewood flood control projects will move forward once the OPPJ gets a new report on the flooding situation and costs involved to conduct such a project.

"Those had been flood control projects for many many years, all the data that we have is certainly old, and we need a current report on that, and hopefully get started on that next week," said Moore.
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