DDA rolls out bicycle marketing


Mayor George Heartwell, left, helped Nate Phelps open Central District Cyclery downtown. Heartwell, an avid cycling advocate, is on the DDA board and voted to approve the bike marketing campaign.

(As seen on WZZM TV 13) Look for the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority to pedal out a new marketing campaign this summer to encourage bicycle riding throughout the district.

DDA board members agreed to invest $10,000 into the effort that will produce a map of downtown, enhanced signage for bicyclists and an advertising campaign to promote bike riding.

“People will know where all the bicycle facilities are,” said County Commissioner Jim Taken, also a DDA board member.

Plenty Creative, a branding, graphics and interactive design studio located downtown, will develop the campaign that could also include some promotional items like T-shirts and bumper stickers.

“We’re targeting the local shops and businesses downtown. We’re also targeting some of the adjacent neighborhoods where people ride their bikes downtown,” said Tim Kelly, a DDA project manager.

The recommendation to hire Plenty Creative came from a task force the DDA set up that had members of the bicycling community serving on it. Plenty Creative was one of three firms that responded to the DDA’s request for proposals.

“After initial meetings in April 2013, the task force determined a graphic designer could help in the creation of a successful marketing campaign and bids were solicited from local firms,” said Kelly.

“We also see this as an initial phase of marketing, which could grow. The hope is we can work and partner with the bicycle community,” he added.

Kelly said the marketing campaign is likely to be rolled out next month.

The DDA’s priority plan includes $45,000 for signs, bike lanes, and bicycle parking areas. Kelly also said additional funds are available for printing the campaign’s marketing materials. In addition, the city’s Parking Commission set aside $10,800 in February to be spent on bicycle improvements downtown.

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