A proposal to rebrand Burlington the “City of Trails” has been put on hold after a consultant advised city officials to focus on Burlington as a good place to live.

Consultant advises city to focus on quality of life in Burlington

By Jason Arndt

Staff Writer

The City of Burlington, at least not yet, isn’t ready to rebrand itself as the “City of Trails” based on a consultant’s report endorsed Tuesday by the Common Council.

The council, which has long-discussed moving away from the Chocolate City, USA branding, learned the city should consider adopting a position that is less about marketing Burlington as a place to visit and more about touting it as a good place to live.

City Administrator Carina Walters on June 15 said members of the rebranding committee, which decided on the City of Trails concept, were notified of the report before the presentation.

Consultant Jay Graham, of the firm GrahamSpencer, told the Common Council on June 15 he and his team undertook a process consisting of dozens of interviews with many stakeholders before coming to the conclusion.

“In all, these efforts amounted to significantly more work than we had spec’d for the project,” a 271-page GrahamSpencer report stated.

“While our recommendations are unlikely to please everyone, we feel strongly they are well-founded in the thorough processes represented in this document.”

GrahamSpencer, a Rockford-based company, completed an in-depth analysis as of part of the scope of work for the awarded Joint Effort Marketing Grant through the state Department of Tourism to assist the city in a search of evaluating its position.

The evaluation, as well as potential implementation of a new brand, could take at least three years to complete under the grant approval.

According to the lengthy summary, respondents broadly supported finding a new identity to replace Chocolate City, USA.

But they didn’t necessarily support the “City of Trails” simply because the city does not have needed infrastructure.

“As you will see, we recommend continuing to build on your trails infrastructure and overall experience – but adopting a position that is less about Burlington as a place to visit than a place to live should be pursued,” the report states.

      To read the full story see the July 8 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.