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Hardhats, Social Media and Virtual Reality: Executing a Communication Plan for the CenterG Downtown Streetscape Project

 

A massive 18-month project to improve streetscaping, sidewalks and underground utilities in the Greer Station downtown district came with potential difficulties. Construction can create the impression that roads are impassable, which can hurt or even destroy businesses.

In preparation for these challenges, the City of Greer, along with Greer Commission of Public Works, Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce and Greer Development Corporation created an ambitious communications plan to answer questions and engage audiences throughout the construction process.

The plan featured the CenterG website as well as a broadcast, print, social media and billboard campaign. It also included special events, promotional giveaways, merchant-relations efforts and news media outreach. The communications team created all material in-house to allow more to be spent on distribution. A magazine, created in partnership with the Greer Citizen newspaper, was a $30,000 publication that cost the city only a fraction after ad sales. The city also used virtual reality goggles to demonstrate what the finished streets would look like.

Communications for CenterG placed a strong emphasis on marketing businesses in the impacted area, many of which reported record sales during construction. The city spent $15,000 on $5 gift cards to encourage people to go downtown during construction.

Another key solution came in the form of a downtown shuttle service to connect parking to businesses during construction, complete with an app to find shuttles. Shuttle drivers served as downtown ambassadors.

Downtown occupancy rose from 30% in 2016 to 97% in 2019, with five new restaurants opening during construction. The CenterG Project helped to recruit a developer to build a new hotel in the district, and new downtown housing is on the way as well.

Contact Steve Owens at sowens@cityofgreer.org or 864.416.0121.