Alliance Area Development’s Tom Pukys emphasized Alliance’s positive attributes and outlined what new businesses are coming to the city at the University of Mount Union’s Continued Learning Program Tuesday.
It was the first CLP program held in April. The programs, which are free and open to the public, are held at 10 a.m. every Tuesday in the East Room of the Hoover-Price Campus Center at Mount Union. Over the last year Alliance Area Development raised more than $100,000 to contract with Full Spectrum Marketing for rebranding and marketing services for the next two years in hopes of showing a more positive side of the city.
The campaign follows the theme “Make It Yours” and focuses on telling stories about residents of Alliance.
“We need to harness this social capital that we have and really remember some of the good things that we have. Sometimes the negatives tend to get in the forefront and the positives aren’t reinforced enough,” he said. One of the perceptions about Alliance Pukys said needs changed is that there are no jobs in the city.
“There are so many opportunities for skilled workers and non-skilled workers. If you need a job in this community they are there,” he said. He used welding as an example. In the next few years he said there will be up to 300 welding jobs added to the area and there are 50 open welding jobs today.
The stories of Alliance residents told through the campaign can be found on www.alliancemakeityours.com. “We want people to get excited. We want people to get engaged. We want people to tell their stories of what did they do to make Alliance theirs and we want to encourage people of the younger generation to make it theirs,” he said. He encouraged anyone who may want to share their personal stories for the campaign to contact Alliance Area Development at 330-823-0700.
Pukys said that while economic development projects take a long time to come to fruition, there are several things about to happen in the city that have been years in the making.
In the next year a Starbucks will be built near Staples on State Street, a GetGo will be built in front of the Giant Eagle on State Street and a Hampton Inn & Suites, Wendy’s and O’Reilly’s Auto Parts will all be built at the former Kuntzman Trucking site on State Street.
As an example of a project in the works he presented the vision for the South Union Corridor Project. He showed before and after pictures of South Union Avenue with electrical lines out of view, new light poles installed with flags and improved sidewalks similar to the brick and concrete ones the university has installed in other portions of South Union Avenue.
The South Union corridor to the city is one of the Place Oriented Strategies of Alliance Area Development, following the idea that for businesses to come to Alliance the aesthetics first have to be suitable for their business.
“As you make this nicer you will start to see a lot of new businesses start to pop up because people want to be where it’s nice,” he said. Pukys said Alliance Area Development is working on partnering with individuals or groups who have community projects in mind but could use help finding funding.
“If you have a project, let us know about it. We’ll get some money to help you out,” he said.
He stressed that cooperating with the community on their projects is something that will help build the stakeholders of Alliance’s confidence in the city.
“You guys are the stakeholders and the ones telling these stories. When people ask about Alliance we want them to get a positive message.”
By CHELSEA SHARcshar@the-review.com Published: April 8, 2015 3:00AM