Man behind ‘City of You’ slogan hired to brand Liberty Twp.; public input sought

Local News

LIBERTY, Ohio (WKBN) – Liberty trustees want to brand their township, and the first of four public meetings was held Tuesday evening as the first step in getting that done.

The meeting was run by a design professor from Youngstown State University, RJ Thompson, who is best known for inventing the “City of You” slogan and logo for Youngstown.

Thompson also runs a company called +Public. He has been hired to create a brand for Liberty, and over the next few months will be talking with Liberty residents about what they want.

“What we’re essentially creating is the marketing-driven identity for the township,” Thompson said.

“What’s great about Liberty? Why Liberty? We’ll put it on a brand, through a logo, a website, and then people here who will participate, they’ll be salesmen for this town to retain and attract people,” said Liberty Township Trustee Arnie Clebone.

About 40 people attended the Tuesday meeting. They also learned that the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments selected the Belmont Avenue corridor for a comprehensive planning study.

Belmont Avenue is the main road in and out of Liberty where the majority of the township’s businesses are located.

The study will not only focus on the stretch of Belmont Avenue in Liberty, but also its extension into Youngstown.

The study is totally separate from the branding project.

“Ideally, our program will end before theirs does, so all the assets that we create will be used to augment the work that they do,” Thompson said.

Among those assets will be what Liberty residents think should be done with their township — the data of which will be collected through focus groups.

Thompson also talked about what he calls “creative placemaking.”

“So if there’s any particular pocket of area that you feel is blighted or vacant that could utilize some art and culture and really bring attention to an area, that is creative placemaking,” Thompson said.

Most people at the meeting seemed to be in favor of branding Liberty.

“It’s exciting because people have to start recognizing the good things we have here … you need an identity,” said Kravitz Deli owner Jack Kravitz.

“I think this is exactly what Liberty needs. I think we need a voice and we needed somebody to step out, really put their foot forward and begin this process,” said Liberty Hampton Inn general manager Ryan Galati.

The project’s other meetings are planned for:

– Thursday, April 25 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Plaza Donuts
– Thursday, May 2 at 5 p.m. at the township building
– Saturday, May 4 at noon at the township building

The initial phase of the project — the logo and website — will cost the township $1,900.

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