Group to help Baltimore boosters tout city Neighborhoods will learn to market assets on Web

October 29, 1997|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

Baltimoreans captivated by the charms of city living are planning to send their message to the world on the byways of the World Wide Web.

"People who live in Baltimore can be their own best marketers," said Cheryl A. Casciani, executive director of the Citizens Planning and Housing Association (CPHA) and one of several people who had a hand in creating a Neighborhood Marketing Institute that will help city residents tout the beauty of Baltimore.

"The goal of the marketing institute is to show community leaders how to focus on their assets and develop a strong marketing plan for their neighborhoods, so they can attract and retain residents," Casciani said.

CPHA will announce the opening of the marketing institute this evening during the group's annual meeting at the World Trade Center downtown. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6: 45 p.m.

According to Casciani, the marketing institute will offer neighborhood leaders the opportunity to meet with business experts and learn how to forge better relationships with real estate agents and advertise their communities with such marketing tools as newsletters and sites on the World Wide Web.

Four sessions are being offered by the institute over the next few months to help community activists design neighborhood marketing plans. The first session will provide an overview of neighborhood marketing. The second and third sessions will focus on components of marketing plans, such as communicating with the media and identifying needed resources. The final session will highlight some of the homeownership incentives available in Baltimore.

"The sessions are available to neighborhoods across the city," said Casciani, who added that the sessions would be free in an effort to draw as many groups as possible. To register for the sessions, community leaders must call CPHA at 410-539-1369.

The marketing institute was developed during months of planning as part of the Baltimore Campaign, which was started by neighborhood leaders and the nonprofit CPHA two years ago. This year, encore baltiMORE! formed a partnership with CPHA to create the Live Baltimore Marketing Center, which grew out of the Baltimore Campaign and established the Neighborhood Marketing Institute. The institute has the support of Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and works in partnership with citywide agencies, including the Downtown Partnership and the Homeownership Institute.

Encore baltiMORE! is a coalition of business people and residents who are trying to revitalize the city. Some Baltimore neighborhoods are on the World Wide Web at www.encorebaltimore.org.

Funding for the marketing institute was provided by a $5,000 grant from the William G. Baker Jr. Memorial Fund, and an additional $25,000 was donated by other private contributors.

Once the marketing institute is operating, Casciani said, Live Baltimore will focus on long-term goals, such as stabilizing the residential base in the city.

"Our long-term vision is to increase both the number of people who stay in the city and the number of people who move into the city," said Casciani. "Through the marketing institute, we're building the capacity to do that."

Pub Date: 10/29/97

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