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City hiring firms to bring in business

December 16, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

How they voted:

Martin E. Brubaker, yes

Kelly S. Cromer, yes

Lewis C. Metzner, yes

Penny M. Nigh, abstain

Alesia D. Parson-McBean, no

HAGERSTOWN -- The City of Hagerstown will spend $58,000 to hire local businesses to market the downtown area.

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday voted 3-1 to hire High Rock Studios, 2nd Floor Media, RidgeRunner Publishing and Fleetwood Design Inc. for the job.

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Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh abstained from the vote, saying she couldn't vote on the proposal because she didn't know enough about it.

"I haven't had questions answered," Nigh said.

Councilwoman Alesia D. Parson-McBean cast the dissenting vote.

Parson-McBean said before the meeting that she thought the proposal should have been put out for bid rather than have city officials choose the businesses that would form the marketing team.

High Rock Studios, 2nd Floor Media, RidgeRunner Publishing and Fleetwood Design Inc., known collectively as the Economic Development Marketing Program, will develop a strategic marketing plan in an effort to revitalize and bring higher-paying jobs downtown. That plan will include the use of videos and Web site development.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said the members of the Economic Development Marketing Program were chosen because it would be in their best interest to succeed as links in the chain of the downtown business community.

"This will be a totally different plan than in the past," Bruchey said.

In addition, the Economic Development Marketing Program will help supplement the understaffed Economic Development Department, Bruchey said.

"(The Economic Development Marketing Program) will fill a niche area that the (Hagerstown-Washington) County Economic Development Commission and the city's limited resources can't meet," he said. "They are involved in the market we want to attract."

Bruchey said Fleetwood Design Inc., a minority-owned business, was added, in part, to attract minority businesses.

The $58,000 fee for the Economic Development Marketing Program will be paid for using money from the sale of a lot in the City's Industrial Park, according to city documents.

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