Shared from the 12/18/2019 Houston Chronicle eEdition

City of Pasadena aims for new image

A new branding campaign for the city of Pasadena highlights what officials say are the town’s important but not-so-known assets — its dominance as one of the country’s energy powerhouses and its position as the second-largest city in the Greater Houston Area.

To get the word out, Pasadena’s Economic Development Corp. adopted the logo, “Pasadena: Powering Possibilities,” and will be rolling it out with related messaging on various social media platforms and in selected advertising.

‘Retell our story’

“We have to reposition our city and retell our story. We have to start generating community pride, generate that buzz so that people who live here and those outside will hear it and see what we see, that Pasadena is a true gem,” said Suzette McDowell, the EDC’s marketing manager. “To do that, we have to have a brand that’s vibrant and cohesive.”

The ECD is rolling out the new logo with the city of Pasadena and on social media platforms and is partnering with the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Houston Partnership and some of the city’s major employees to ensure the messaging is consistent. Advertising that targets investors and developers in magazines and brochures will be part of the marketing strategy.

McDowell said the focus is on Pasadena’s energy industry — “Our energy sources power the entire country” — the area’s education system and its curriculum that ties into training a skilled workforce for local industry. Also highlighted will be Pasadena’s proximity to Houston and its ability to maintain a small-town feel.

“We are a town that’s full of treasures,” McDowell said. “We have the Strawberry Festival and the Pasadena Rodeo and Armand Bayou Nature Center, which is one of the largest nature preserves in the country.”

Pasadena Mayor Jeff Wagner put out astatement about the city’s new logo.

“The tag line Powering Possibilities has more than one meaning,” he said. “From an industry standpoint, a huge portion of the energy resources that power our country are refined and produced right here. Because of that strong economic foundation, our jobs, our schools and our residents are blessed with the power to achieve countless possibilities.”

The EDC contracted with Development Counsellors International firm on the marketing effort. Focus groups involved more than 80 community leaders.

Beyond messaging and image promotion, the EDC has partnered with the city on several road improvement projects to improve and enhance Pasadena’s infrastructure, directly impacting residents’ quality of life and acting as a boon to business owners.

McDowell said redevelopment was a natural move for the EDC in its task to support the business community.

“The city is pretty built out; so there are lots of opportunities for redevelopment, so we’ve been looking at where we can be the most impactful,” she said.

One such project is Richey Road, where work is close to completion. The $15-million project is in collaboration with the city of Pasadena and Harris County. Phase 1, which includes a 1.5-mile stretch from Highway 225 to Southmore, is an overhaul of the street, drainage systems and sidewalks.

Phase 2, which is still in the early stages of development, will pick up from Southmore and continue to South Houston Road, less than half of a mile.

McDowell said this part of the Richey Road project is a “level up.”

“We want to really look at maximizing the changes we make (in the roadway),” she said.

“This area is a mix of retailers, restaurants and service-based business that largely cater to locals.

To ensure community stakeholders are involved in what ultimately happens in the area, the EDC held a breakfast event in October for business owners.

“We want to determine a vision for the area, so we asked them what they would like to see,” said EDC Director Carlos Guzman.

“The improvements included better lighting, safer pedestrian crossings, expanded sidewalks and trees.”

The EDC, which has a 2020 fiscal year operating budget of nearly $5.4 million, is also involved with road construction on Shaw Street from Carl Street to McMasters Avenue.

So far, $2.5 million has been earmarked for the project, but the EDC, which is working with the city on Shaw, is still conducting outreach efforts to impacted stakeholders to determine the project’s scope, timeline, scale and total budget.

“(The work on Shaw) will be similar to the concept on Richey,” McDowell said. “We’re collecting lots of feedback (from the community there) about the aesthetics, putting in more lighting to improve safety and how we can make it more of a walkable area when people are going from business to business.”

The EDC is also working to visually mark many of Pasadena’s entrances.

One marker, which was a joint project between Pasadena EDC, the city and the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region, has already been placed at Fairmont and the Beltway; three more are planned. McDowell said the EDC may erect asecond one at Highway 225 and Richey, but the organization has not yet made any final decision about where the proposed trio of markers will be placed.

“We want these markers to be impactful, to tell people that they are in Pasadena because there’s so much here to showcase,” she said.

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