Our Voice: Setting the Tri-Cities apart will take combined effort

Boosting tourism and setting the Tri-Cities apart from other communities is going to take persistence, creativity and most of all, cooperation.

In the effort to establish a new Tri-City identity, the best thing to happen so far is organizations that, in the past, focused mostly on their own activities finally joined together for a common purpose.

This collaboration is exactly what the Tri-Cities needs if it is ever to get over its entrenched parochial mindset.

We need to think bigger.

We need to see ourselves as a team with a common goal instead of individual players out for their own personal glory.

If this combined push continues, there is hope the Tri-Cities could eventually re-invent itself and become a destination point for visitors, in addition to being a wonderful place to live and raise a family.

The competition for tourism dollars is fierce, and communities across the country are trying to find something that can make them stand out and attract travelers.

The Tri-Cities Visitor & Convention Bureau, the Tri-City Development Council and the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce paid a consultant $86,500 to come up with a brand and a logo that can be used for promotional materials next year.

Louder. Bolder. Brighter. Better.

Those were the four words that Roger Brooks of Renton suggested could be used to promote the Tri-Cities. He worked with input from a 15-member committee and recently unveiled the new concept.

He said the Tri-Cities could capitalize on being urban, but with a hometown feel. The plan also suggests a year-round public market, a true art district, core downtown areas with specialty businesses, an aquatic center and a performing arts venue, along with many other ideas that could help make the Tri-Cities more attractive to tourists.

Much of this does not sound new. Some residents are questioning whether the proposal was worth the money.

But this is just the beginning. All endeavors need a point to jump from and getting a brand and logo helps with that. How far we leap and in what direction is still up to us.

Sunny weather, wineries, golf courses and rivers are great, but they are not enough to make the Tri-Cities stand out.

But if we collectively put our heads together, we can figure something out. The brand and logo effort brought together representatives from all over the community, including the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the West Richland Chamber of Commerce, TRIDEC, Columbia Center mall, private companies and other community promoters. That is a huge accomplishment.

All the players are there. We just need them to continue to work together, set some goals and make it all happen.