The city council was busy beautifying the city’s brand this week with steps including approving a new downtown revitalization plan and color scheme and adopting an official typeface and style guide.
The city, Galveston County’s second in terms of population growth, is focused on polishing how it presents itself to the world, said Colleen Merritt, public relations specialist for the city. That’s why council members at their meeting this week signed off on the long-planned Renaissance District plan, which cost $25,000, and a new brand style guide, completed for $9,540.
“La Marque’s a growing city and we are experiencing a boom,” Merritt said, noting that the city’s legal department still needs to review the plan. “It’s important to make sure that during times of growth, you make sure you control how you present yourself to the world.”
La Marque, which the U.S. Census Bureau estimates has a 2018 population of 16,766, has grown nearly 11 percent between 2010 and 2017, according to council documents.
The downtown revitalization plan, which the city’s Economic Development Corp. contracted with Texas A&M University’s Texas Coastal Watershed Program to complete last year, outlines future redesign efforts for an area on Laurel Street and Bayou Road.
These beautification measures, as Merritt described them, call for planting more trees, creating small parks, and improving downtown lighting. Also, it creates a uniform sign code and “coastal color” paint scheme downtown businesses will be encouraged to follow, Merritt said.
“Wide sidewalks, beautiful lighting, storefronts that are inviting, a walkable and bikable family friendly environment, all of that is the goal,” she said, adding there are currently no tax incentives included in the plan, but such measures might be taken up by the Economic Development Corp. in the future. “What we’re trying to do is get businesses to open up and succeed downtown.”
Additional future steps include a grant-funded storefront rehabilitation program, increasing code enforcement and a gateway project at the intersection of state Highway 3 and First Street to mark the entrance to downtown.
While it remains to be seen whether the effort will pay off on a wide scale, at least one business — DT Small Events — has opened up in the new district. Tracie Steans, who opened up her party venue downtown — said she chose the area because it’s safe and accessible.
“There could be a lot of growth here,” she said. Steans opened her shop across from the police station on Laurel Street in April.
Fewer than 10 businesses are in downtown La Marque, Steans said. About 23 percent of the area is vacant, according to the plan.
As for the new brand style guide, Merritt said the 15-page document, which the city created in partnership with a Pasadena-based marketing and design company, is to make sure La Marque maintains a “unified voice and cohesive image” when communicating with the public.
The document contains guidelines for using the city’s official logo as well as a section on the city-approved colors, fonts and letterhead.
“This goes deeper than just envelopes,” Merritt said at the meeting. “It’s how we present our city to the world.”