City committee told to simplify project 05/25/2007
By KEVIN D. ROBERTS
Register Citizen Staff
TORRINGTON - A veteran of journalism and public relations didn't mince words on Thursday when talking to the Torrington Development Corporation's Public Relations Committee about the challenges facing the downtown redevelopment project.
"Do the simple things," Jon Crane, president of New Britain-based Crane Public Relations, said. "Don't get ahead of yourselves."
Crane was brought in to discuss how the corporation was going to market the downtown redevelopment.
"I think we're sort of at a critical phase in our process," committee Chairman Elinor Carbone said.
Carbone said the committee was looking for ideas on how to move forward with the process.
"There's no silver bullet to it," Crane said. "You have your primary audience, the citizens of Torrington. You need to communicate directly to them."
Crane told the corporation that it needs to be open to those who are most vocal about the project.
"Reach out to the people who are criticizing you," he said. "Don't be sensitive to criticism."
Committee member Aurora Daly said the challenge for the committee was to simplify the project for the average citizen who is not involved with the process. Christina Emery, interim executive director of the corporation, said the committee could simplify the state process and clarify what needs to be done.
Crane said an electronic newsletter could be set up, or there could be a public forum on a Web site. The committee will have credibility on its side if they are doing things right, such as being open and honest, Crane said.
For resources, the committee should tap local ones, such as the marketing arm of the Warner Theatre, or area banks, which have their own publicity. People with influence and high visibility in the community should be brought into the project in order to control the message, Crane said.
"What can we say to these people?" committee member James Rokos asked, referring to those who are critical of the project.
"You have to say something," Crane said. "You have to be honest."
Those critical of the project are not enemies, Crane said, but are people who are frustrated with the process, and those people must be involved.