Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Committee members say Columbians are negative, officials want to "manage the message"

Jamie Widener thinks the problem with Columbia is that it's full of Columbians. He offered that sentiment during a brainstorming session at last night's ad hoc committee meeting. Widener, a committee member, said a question was posed at a CEDC meeting a few years ago where Mayor Lutz was also in attendance. When attendees were asked what's wrong with Columbia, Widener replied, "The problem with Columbia is it's full of Columbians." Widener said at first he thought Lutz was going to punch him until the mayor laughed and said, "You're absolutely right." Widener's comments can be heard in the video below. Several committee members nodded, commented, or murmured in agreement.

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.


Unknown said...

OK, here we go, hire an adv firm and manage the message. The "message" is always what Columbia could be. Columbia will be what it will be. When prices get too high in surrounding areas and a population secure in an urban environment moves in Columbia will change, Whether that change will be good is in the perspective of the developer or resident. I am a lifetime resident, looking to move to the Philadelphia area to be closer to children. I enjoy living in Columbia just the way it is. I believe Columbia should invest in the residents. A big start would have been acknowledging that Public Health is an issue in this community. Hiding the poverty and the low rating of the school district behind logos and branding is a total waste of money. Back the school district, verbally and financially. I believe my children received an excellent education and also learned to understand and embrace social, economic and racial differences. I wish every child in the U.S. could be raised in the diversity and pride that Columbia provides. Really if you want to have a business or live in Lititz, move there. People/Developers move into Columbia because it is more affordable and then they want to change it into whatever community they could not afford to live in. Blend in, enjoy this wonderful community. I have always thought that the naysaying was a defense mechanism against change. Developers and Politicians please take the hint.

ScottFrederick said...

Absolutely amazing that these ppl on these committees are so oblivious to the fact that they are representing THE COLUMBIAN TAXPAYERS and therefore ARE IN FACT beholden to THE TAXPAYERS

Radical rag said...

There are 2 types of people in this world... Columbians, and people who want to be columbians!!!!!!