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County moves forward with rebranding effort

Rowan County on Monday began a $500,000 facelift.

County Commissioners appointed Patterson Farms co-owner Michelle Patterson as the chairwoman of a task force responsible for a county rebranding effort. With an estimated cost of $500,000, Tourism Development Authority Executive Director James Meacham during the commissioners’ Monday meeting said the rebranding would be paid for through a tax on hotel occupancy that already funds Meacham’s agency. The rebranding could include new letterheads, county business cards, a logo and website design, Meacham said.

“Ultimately what the (Convention and Visitor’s Bureau) wanted to do for Rowan County is to take the question of funding off of the table, but recognize this is not a CVB initiative. This is a Rowan County initiative,” Meacham said. “We’re trying to create a brand to reach customers, and a lot of those customers do not live in Rowan County.”

The largest single cost in Meacham’s presentation to commissioners was digital infrastructure.

“It’s making it possible for other partners and organizations in the community to tie on to a much more integrated digital infrastructure, so we’re faster and more efficient at not only delivering our brand message, but also at solving the needs of our customers — whether it’s an economic development need, a housing need, a tourism need, or whatever that need may be,” Meacham said.

During his presentation, Meacham presented logos of a hotel chain as an example of what the county could do for its rebranding. Some of the logos he presented showed different branches of the hotel chain using nearly identical logos. Other, more pricey branches of the chain used a logo noticeably different from others. Meacham said the county’s branding could function similarly.

According to Meacham’s presentation, Patterson and Commissioner Craig Pierce, who serves as the board of commissioners’ liaison to the CVB, would determine the members of the task force and later present it to the commissioners before the rebranding gets started.

In other action Monday, the commissioners:

• Approved creation of an Animal Control Task Force that would decide on how to allow volunteers to make decisions about the animal shelter’s daily operations.

“We been approached by several groups with concerns about our animal control system,” said Pierce. “We’ve been back and forth over my two years of being on this board, trying to develop some type of policy to allow volunteers to participate in some of the decisions and policies at the shelter. We’ve recently moved the department head from being under control of the health department to the county manager. By doing that, we’ve basically said we would write a new policy.”

The proposal, made by Pierce, requires two veterinarians, four Rowan residents, the animal control director, a county elected official and County Manager Aaron Church to serve on the task force. Initially, the task force would’ve included a municipal elected official. Pierce motioned for the task force’s creation. It was seconded by Commissioner Mike Caskey.

It passed unanimously.

• Tabled the lease of a 24-acre tract of land to the Rowan County Fairgrounds.

The land is sandwiched between Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and the fairgrounds. The proposal would’ve allowed the fair to use the 24 acres for parking.

Commissioners raised questions about how many trees the fairgrounds intended to cut down in order to make room for parking.

Church said the entire 24-acre tract of land, covered in trees, would be valued at $20,000 to $40,000 currently. If the county waited until all trees on the land were mature, Church said the county could fetch $50,000 to $70,000.

Commissioners requested the fair association return with a plan of the exact area of land it intended to clear for parking.

• Authorized Church to move $13,000 from contingency funds to a line item for employee appreciation, organize departmental lunches on Friday and an employee picnic.

• Approved selling 36 surplus vehicles.

The surplus is composed of vehicles from the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office and Rowan Transit System, according to Monday’s agenda.

The vehicles would be sold on GovDeals.com, according to the agenda.

• Approved a vehicle swap between the Sheriff’s Office and Rowan County Rescue Squad.

In a letter to commissioners and Church, Rescue Squad Chief Eddie Cress asked commissioners to approve giving his agency a 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe which was already declared surplus. Cress wrote the Rescue Squad has a 1999 Ford Excursion with 172,000 miles and is worn out for use as an emergency vehicle. The Tahoe the Rescue Squad would receive has approximately 130,000 miles, according to Cress’ letter.

• Authorized Church to sign an agreement with Duke Energy allowing the company to use a portion the parking lot of West End Plaza, formerly the Salisbury Mall, when restoring power after storms.

• Approved allowing the sale of surplus furniture located at the county’s storage facility on Airport Road.

• Approved a $6,000 grant application from the Extension Office to the Robertson Family Foundation.

• Scheduled a quasi-judicial hearing for the March 2 commissioners meeting that, if a rezoning and conditional use permit were approved, would allow Carolina Quarries to expand the area where it stores waste.

• Set a public hearing for the rezoning of 2.62 acres in the Woodleaf area from Rural Agricultural to Commercial, Business, Industrial. The property is owned by Marietta Metals Inc.

• Approved a resolution recognizing Severe Weather Awareness Week in Rowan County

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246





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