Lake Lure & Chimney Rock branding the tourists towns
The sister tourist towns of Lake Lure and Chimney Rock Village adopted a branding plan in 2013 that is connecting the two communities at the present and for the future.
According to the developers of the plan, there is a unified message that resonates with the residents, visitors and future residents while preserving the identity of the individual communities.
The towns' leaders are going to focus on individual amenities and collectively to brand the towns as tourist destinations for the economic growth and future of the Gorge area.
The initial implementation of the work on the market assessment and branding initiative has already enhanced the visibility and communications across the Gorge, Lake Lure Mayor Bob Keith explained in his year-end summary to townspeople.
"And there is an emerging and new focus on area plans for the Chimney Rock/Lake Lure gateway, the Route 9 corridor and the Lake Lure Town Center," Keith said.
Barbara Meliski, mayor of Chimney Rock Village, said the plans for the pathway from Lake Lure to downtown Chimney Rock are going to be costly project as the towns begin securing easements in 2014. "But we are moving forward," Meliski said.
More than 100 people participated in a survey regarding the branding plans either through a focus group meeting, public meetings or individual interviews and correspondence.
The project was guided by a town-appointed steering committee of representatives from Lake Lure and Chimney Rock Village along with representatives from Rutherford County government, Chimney Rock State Park and other key stakeholders.
Colorful banners for the towns were created with the descriptions of Lofy & Deep for Lake Lure and Lofty for Chimney Rock Village.
Also in Chimney Rock Village in 2013, the town bought the former Kritter's restaurant property on Main Street. The plan is to demolish the property for additional parking.
The events committee for the Community Development Association held several fundraising events, including Bingo, SpringGo and bake sales. Events are scheduled for the Gathering Place in 2014.
Two political newcomers were elected to serve on Village Council as incumbents Bob Wald and Frank Campbell chose not to seek re-election.
New council members Bruce Godzik and April Sottile, were sworn into office in November and December.
Town Council also re-appointed Mayor Meliski to her position.
Other 2013 accomplishments in Lake Lure were:
•Lake Lure Classical Academy has increased in size and the school is one more year closer to the construction of a permanent facility.
•A new and improved Rutherford County Welcome Center at Lake Lure that welcomes visitors and residents.
•Ground was broken for the new Lake Lure Professional Park and will feature comprehensive medical services and a new dental office.
•The Flowering Bridge held its grand opening event in October has seen in excess of 25,000 visitors from 41 states and 23 foreign countries.
•The State Park has expanded and new hiking and mountain biking trails are near completion.
•The new Chamber of the Hickory Nut Gorge began with the two towns joining efforts to bring new ideas and new plans to promote the businesses of the tourism areas.
•Re-elected to the Lake Lure Town Council were John Moore and Mary Dotson-Silvey.