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Videos tout new slogan for downtown



Published: Sat, July 7, 2007 @ 12:00 a.m.

The two promo videos will be officially unveiled Wednesday downtown.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

CITY HALL REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN — When it comes to downtown, city officials say, “It’s happening here!”

But even with the catch phrase and the increased activity, they acknowledge that not enough people realize what’s happening downtown.

Too many people are attending events at the Chevrolet Centre and the DeYor Performing Arts Center and not going to restaurants, clubs and bars nearby, said William D’Avignon, the city’s Community Development Agency director.

“The hope of the Chevrolet Centre was to spur economic activity downtown,” he said. “It has to some degree, but not as much as we hoped. In some people’s minds, there is still the thought of what downtown was and not what it is.”

Because of that, the city hired the Keynote Media Group, a Youngstown company, for $6,500 to produce two videos — one is a minute long and the other is 30 seconds in length — promoting the downtown area. D’Avignon said Keynote “gave us a really reasonable rate.”

The promos

The one-minute spot will be shown on the Chevrolet Centre’s video screens during certain events at the facility, including Youngstown SteelHounds hockey and Mahoning Valley Thunder football games. The promos will also air on television sets throughout the center’s lobby area.

The city plans to ask local television stations to show the 30-second promotion as a free public service announcement, said D’Avignon, who came up with the idea for the videos.

The two spots will be officially unveiled to other city officials, local business leaders and the media at the center Wednesday.

“The goal is to make people realize there’s a lot more to do downtown than just going to the Chevy Centre,” D’Avignon said. “These videos promote the new flavor and new feeling of downtown.”

The spots show people eating and drinking in different downtown locations, primarily in the evening with what Richard Hahn, Keynote’s president, describes as “up-tempo, hard-driving rock and roll” background music.

Impressive work

“I was extremely impressed,” said Mayor Jay Williams. “They did a phenomenal job. We’re excited and exceptionally pleased with the results.”

The clips used in the promos were filmed during a five-hour period May 25 when there was a Party on the Plaza on East Federal Street and a Thunder game at the center, Hahn said.

The only words in the commercial are people saying, “It’s happening here.”

The “fast-moving” promos capture the “energy and excitement of downtown,” Hahn said. “When people come downtown, the idea is for them to stay down here. We want them to know there are destinations here before and after events.”

The video promos are the latest part of the city’s effort to bring people to downtown, which has seen about a dozen or so eating and drinking establishments open in the past few years. The city also distributed numerous signs to downtown businesses that read: It’s happening here! Downtown Youngstown.

skolnick@vindy.com


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