Walkway to be branded for broader tourism
Community and environmental groups are planning a branding initiative for the Walkway Over the Hudson to promote tourism and economic growth on both sides of the river.
Sleek, uniform signage, digital navigation tools, professional photo and video promotions and zoning changes are among the goals of Scenic Hudson, the Walkway Over the Hudson and the Dutchess Chamber of Commerce.
Vox, Inc., a marketing firm, will assist with design and implementation. The initiative will require public/private funding of about $100,000. Jonathan Nettelfield, director of strategic planning at Vox, offered the tentative project title of the "Greater Walkway Region--the Heart of the Hudson."
Mary Kay Vrba, the executive director of Dutchess County Tourism, said, "It's nice to see that regionally ... we're coming together to have a common goal. I think the branding of the Walkway will help our visitors to identify with all we have here in the area and that, when they visit, it'll be more than just a day trip," she said.
Nettelfield was among the project leads at Poughkeepsie City Hall on Tuesday to introduce the new designs to a host of city officials and interested residents. Signage would be the most expensive part of the venture, said Nettelfield, as it would be extensive and elaborate. To solve the problem of having too many different signs saying the same thing, along with people coming to the Walkway without an idea of how to plan a trip, they want to plant uniform signage akin to something you'd find at Disneyworld, he said.
Signs would vary. Some would be regional gateway signs that serve as large area maps directing wayfinders to points of interest and exploration zones. Others would inform walkers and cyclists their position and proximity to restaurants, shops and historical landmarks. Nettelfield said goal is to use the success of the Walkway to stimulate economic growth in surrounding communities like Poughkeepsie and Lloyd.
"The question is how do you take that brand and rub off some of the pixie dust into the area around it. Scenic Hudson, the Dyson Foundation, the Walkway and the Dutchess Chamber of Commerce all came up with a very visionary idea…which was how can we expand this existing brand to create a greater brand," said the principal from Vox, which previously helped Utah leverage the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Their other designs include a mobile Walkway navigation app for iPhone and Android and a four- to five-minute movie filmed using a mini-helicopter.
The groups also want to coordinate hiring a National Geographic photographer to take the ideal picture to serve on their marketing materials.
Assemblyman Frank Skartados, D-Milton, approved, saying, "The way I see it, and the way you described it, we already have an anchor store and now you're trying to build a mall. I appreciate your willingness to share the success of the Walkway Over the Hudson with the rest of the communities."
By Mid-Hudson News