Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Downtown OKC Boosts Funds for New Marketing Campaign

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Downtown OKC Boosts Funds for New Marketing Campaign

Article excerpt

Downtown OKC Inc. has received a sharp increase in money for its campaign to attract more visitors to the business district.

Last year's marketing budget totaled $63,000, which included $25,000 for the downtown Fourth of July fireworks. The new budget provides $145,000 that does not include funds toward fireworks.

Downtown OKC's Business Improvement District Advisory Board met Wednesday to review its 2004-05 budget.

The primary objective of the marketing campaign is to attract more visitors to downtown, in addition to providing more - in terms of arts and entertainment - for the more than 40,000 downtown workers who spend the bulk of their days in the district.

Outside entertainment options carry a $12,500 price tag and include SoundBites in the Park, a lunchtime entertainment program designed to not only entertain downtown employees, but keep their lunch money downtown as well. Live music will be featured in Couch Park on the first and third Friday during the months of September, October, April, May and June.

Two live performances have been held, drawing roughly 300 in attendance. The second audience doubled that of the first.

This is something that can really grow, too, into other arts festival-type events during the week, said Kim Searls, DOKC marketing director.

Additionally, the organization is launching its Downtown Dawn to Dusk program in an effort to help maximize the cultural experience for existing and event visitors. We feel like that really would add energy to what's going on downtown, Searls said.

The program would showcase community artists through street entertainment in various downtown districts throughout the year with a partnership through the Oklahoma City Arts Council.

Other downtown events geared toward attracting residents and guests include Downtown in December and the Downtown OKC Salute. The Downtown in December event will receive $15,000 for permanent improvements to the ice rink, in hopes of increasing last year's 19,000 skaters by 15 percent this year.

The organization also has budgeted $40,000 for its Web site renovation through a partnership with the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, as well as its BID newsletter and additional communications. …

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