Other members also discussed what they see as the negativity of Columbia residents - while making negative comments about Columbia residents. [Note: Several of the committee members are not borough residents.]
"I hear more negativity from the residents of this borough than you do from people when you go outside of this borough," resident Mary Wickenheiser said.
"A lot of the people that live here are the biggest naysayers,'' said an unidentified attendee.
"If you are going to play this role in our community you should be held entirely responsible on how you promote it," committee member Alison Liebgott said. She pointed to "negative naysayers" on social media. "That's a big, big problem," she said.
Borough manager Mark Stivers said he sees a need for the borough to control the message: "We have to manage the message and change the story." He said that the newly hired advertising firm, Gavin, is one way to do that. "We are actively pursuing positive messaging here in the community," he said. "Instead of letting people say what we are, we're telling them what we are." He admitted, however, that "Part of that is honestly owning our weaknesses."
Committee members think that a positive message will bring more people into the borough, a perceived need since residents do not "carry the downtown," as Stivers put it. He said little shops along Locust Street and people coming into town do that. "The residents don't really carry the downtown," Stivers said.