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Savannah Morning News: Hardeeville City Council delays branding project decision

Hardeeville City Council has delayed choosing a company to brand the city because members want more information on how three prospective contractors would handle the project.

Arnett Muldrow and Associates, E. Boineau and Company and The Brandon Agency pitched branding plans and shared their companies’ histories with City Council last month.

Council members Sal Arzillo and Sherry Carroll voiced their concerns about pricing at a council workshop Tuesday and wanted to know exactly what the city will receive from the company it chooses.

The city has allotted $15,000 to $20,000 for the project to recreate Hardeeville’s image to attract business and visitors.

“I want to see, ‘This is what they want to do and this is how much it’ll cost,’ ” Arzillo said. “I want to see the number and the plan.”

City staff recommended Arnett Muldrow and Associates because of its extensive work with municipalities similar to Hardeeville.

“Given the level of experience Arnett has with working with communities like ours, we felt comfortable that they could do it within our budget in a set time,” downtown redevelopment manager Chris Damgen said.

Tee Coker of Arnett Muldrow and Associates gave his presentation by phone because of a back injury. The Greenville-based company specializes in rebuilding communities’ images by rebuilding aging downtowns and creating economic development opportunities.

Carroll said Arnett was the only company to give a list of deliverable goals and a time frame. The company would host charettes to involve citizens and community leaders.

Council member Scott Ready previously lived in Traveler’s Rest, where Arnett Muldrow and Associates recently conducted a branding project. He said he went to see the transformation the company made.

“I was very impressed with the signage changes they made because it directed people to historical markers, high schools and other areas important in the community,” Ready said.

Arzillo said he was impressed with The Brandon Agency because it is familiar with Hardeeville, but its “open-ended budget was a concern.”

“The Brandon Agency knew the area, but could come with price tag we might not be able to afford,” Arzillo said.

Mayor Bronco Bostick said he liked E. Boineau and Company best and council member Michael Sweeney said he trusted city staff’s recommendation of Arnett Muldrow.

City manager Bob Nanni said council can choose a company, then talk about prices and set parameters before making a deal. Council did not come up with a consensus Tuesday. It will discuss the branding project at a workshop this month.

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