Council also votes to sell library parcel and change meeting schedule
By Mike Allen
December 17, 2019 (Santee) -- It’s simple, has the key elements that distinguish the city, and features some nice colors, advocates say. They indicate that the strapline---that’s the tag line that goes below the new logo--is catchy: Do More, Due East.
Santee’s brand, logo and ideas for how it can be used were unveiled last week in a presentation before a City Council that gave the effort mostly a thumbs up, although a majority weren’t gushing about the results of a nine-month process that will end up costing nearly $100,000, and thousands more when replacement cost are factored in.
The logo change ties in with the city's 40th anniversary coming up in 2020.
“It’s definitely not bad by any means,” said Councilman Rob McNelis. “I like the colors, like the integration of the San Diego River and the way Santee is spelled out.”
Vice Mayor Laura Koval said she liked the call to action in the strapline, and the overall logo, but didn’t see the water element included at all.
Councilman Stephen Houlahan was the most effusive of the five officials, saying the new tag line and the entire project by the consultants and the city’s volunteer Envision team was a “spectacular job.”
But Houlahan rejected one of the proposed ideas in the presentation, erecting an LED- lighted sign over State Route 52 with the logo.
Mayor John Minto initially said he didn’t care for the colors or the strapline, then pulled a “just kidding.” He then noted the new logo is far better than the old city logo because the city’s name is much clearer and easier to read than the old logo (photo, right).
The new logo will help give Santee a better identity and induce more people to check out the city and what it has to offer, as well as other places in East County, Minto said.
The Santee Council made creating a new brand one of its top priorities last year as the growing city attempts to distinguish itself from other cities in the region, and promote itself as a tourist destination as well as to better attract private investment.
In February, the Council approved a contract with North Star Destination Strategies of Tennessee for an initial $80,000. At this week’s meeting held Dec. 11, the Council approved an additional $12,000 to aid the city in creating an implementation plan for the best ways of using and positioning the new logo and brand.
Ed Barlow of North Star complemented the high resident participation in the research phase of the process which drew more than 1,000 survey responses, and lots of focus groups sessions. Ultimately the process “uncovered” the city’s strategic DNA statement that aimed to define what is distinct and unique about the city, he said.
Barlow said the of the logo and strapline that it was simple, straight-forward, and memorable. “It’s both declarative and an invitation,” he said. “You are wanting people to come and do more here.”
Among the ways the city could initially use the new brand was in promotional materials, city letters and business cards, city vehicles, and its website. City Manager Marlene Best said the city was currently in negotiations with its website contractor, and should have the new branded logo incorporated into its pages by next month.
Other suggested applications for the logo were LED signage over Highway 52, on stone signs at various entry points, and of course on T-shirts, caps, and other everyday items.
The city may have to spend more early on replacing the old logo, but everything doesn’t have to be done all at once, Barlow said. There was no estimate on what the costs will be to replace the old logo with the new one.
While no one testified against the logo at the Council hearing, on the Santee Today Facebook page, residents voiced differing views. One praised the “streamlined” logo. Others questioned what the tagline means or thought the message was overly broad. Several objected to the high price tag.
One poster suggested critics propose an alternative slogan. Another offered this sarcastic suggestion, “How about "Stuck East" because the traffic is so horrible?”
Council approves selling library parcel for a hotel
In other items on the council’s agenda, members approved a resolution declaring the city’s intent to sell a parcel in the Town Center Square that had been previously designated to accommodate a new library. The council removed that designation in August, and said the vacant property next to the 24 Hour Fitness gym was more suited for a new hotel. The item was passed unanimously by the council and without any comment.
After the meeting, Minto responded to a question on where a new library would go saying he was negotiating with a private party for a new site that would accommodate both a community center and library of at least 50,000 square feet, but declined to give any further details.
Meetings to start at 6:30, with public comments at beginning
Also in its final meeting of 2019, the council adopted a series of changes to policies governing its meetings. Starting next month, the non-agenda public comment portion of the meeting, where citizens can raise new issues or complaints, will be held at the beginning of the meeting.
That portion of the meeting was held after most of the council business was done, but forced citizens to wait at least two hours after the 7 pm starting time. The segment will be limited to 15 minutes with each speaker limited to three minutes, effectively limiting the period to only five speakers. People who wish to make a public comment but are unable to get it done at the initial period can still do so at the non-agenda public comment period after the new business section is concluded.
The meetings will begin at 6:30 p.m. starting next month and has a curfew of 11 p.m. according to the new policies adopted by the council.
The council also changed the way it appoints its vice mayor, who steps in for the mayor whenever the latter is unable to attend meetings. The position will now be made on a rotating basis based on the councilmember’s district number (there are four districts in the city). Previously the position was based on highest number of votes received in the most recent election.
Koval, who represents District 3, was next in line for the job, and took over as vice mayor Dec. 11, replacing Houlahan. The term is one year.