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Logo leads to council quandary

The current Town of Culpeper logo is a reminder of the history of the municipality with the 1759 date of its founding and the “Don't Tread on Me' flag of the Culpeper Minutemen.

At its regular meeting Oct. 9 Culpeper Town Council listened as Director of Tourism Lori Sorrentino presented a proposed logo she and the town staff believe would better represent Culpeper.

The tourism department is already using the new logo – created in 2009 by Tony Rozwadowski of K-Art and Design ―in marketing efforts and she said she and town staff believed its adoption by the council would better unify efforts as it could then also be used on town way-finding signs, brochures, business cards and correspondence.

“It makes sense that the town would benefit from using a similar logo (as tourism),” Sorrentino said.

Reports indicated that staff believes the current logo with the Minuteman flag has become attached to the Tea Party political movement and that “it would seem the town would want a nonpolitical identity.”

Town Manager Kimberly Alexander, who was out of town at a conference during the council meeting, had approved the change of logos. However, town council decided more thought and discussion was needed and overruled her decision sending the discussion back to the Public Safety/Public Works/Planning and Community Development Committee for further review.

Several councilmen, particularly Billy Yowell, seemed concerned that the new logo would ignore the history of Culpeper.

“I think we're building over our history instead of building on our history with the new logo,” Yowell said.

Councilman Jim Risner said he felt “tourism did an excellent job developing a logo.” However, he said, the logo would represent the entire town and using it should take “more than the manager saying this will be our logo.”

Councilman Dave Lochridge, who was in management with JV Penney's for many years and now owns Fantastic Sam's Hair Salon, was the most vocally supportive of the change.

“The new logo creates instant public recognition compared to the old one,” he said.

Earlier this week at his business, Lochridge elaborated on his statement.

“A seal evokes something historic and this new logo would not take the place of the official town seal,” he said. “A logo permits instant public recognition. That's the primary purpose of a logo. From more than a few feet away on town vehicles or when driving past it a person cannot make out what the flag says, the date or even that it's Culpeper. In the new logo the word 'Culpeper' stands out and it would be effective in advertising, marketing and branding the town.”
The Town Council also failed to approve a request by the Culpeper Ruritan Club to block off portions of Davis, Commerce and Culpeper streets for next year's Culpeper Day.

Billy Walter, secretary of the Culpeper club, and Janet Driggers, a member of the group that holds the MS Walk each year, had proposed combining the two events to save on the need for police presence and to make one less day of street closure.

Culpeper Day was started by the now defunct Culpeper Jaycees in 1979 as a way to promote downtown merchants. It was taken over by the Ruritans in 1990. Recently, however, with the success of the Culpeper downtown as a tourism destination, many of the merchants have expressed concern over how the street closures affect their businesses.

Walter said the loss of the day long event would mean the group would raise less money to give to high school scholarships and other community projects. He said he is trying to put together a plan for a satellite parking lot and shuttle service.

“I think it's great Billy secured extra parking, but months ago the merchants signed a petition saying they would like it moved off Davis,” said Councilman Billy Ryan. “The merchants are the lifeblood of this town and I would like to remind people of that.”

Mayor Chip Coleman said the new parking plan might make a difference as he sent the item back to committee.

In other action the council:

* approved a revised workplace violence and threats policy
* approved an employee referral bonus program
* approved a resolution establishing a joint advisory planning committee with Culpeper County.

The next regularly scheduled town council meeting is Nov. 13.
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