Angels Camp’s current economic development efforts began in September 2008 with a focus on tourism when the City Council adopted the Branding, Development & Marketing Action Plan, developed by Destination Development Inc (DDI) of Seattle, WA, through Community Development Block Grant #06-CDBG-2510. A link to the plan can be found at www.angelscamp.gov/branding .
During the brand development process, DDI surveyed over 30 residents, held two public workshops and set up a local Brand Development Committee to provide feedback and test ideas. The branding plan set out a 10-to-15-year process for Angels Camp to build on its key industry – tourism – to become the ‘Base Camp for Sierra Mountain Sports’.
Since 2008, the plan has been administered by the volunteer Brand Leadership Team (BLT), 20-plus business people from the tourism, hospitality, real estate, and marketing industries and the public sector, which reports to the Mayor and Council.
To support implementation of some of the Plan’s 17 detailed recommendations, the City secured approximately $500,000 in grants for development of the brand identity and style manual, a retail recruitment study, a wayfinding & signage master plan, and a $300,000 façade improvement program. In addition, the City secured grants to develop an Angels Creek Trail Master Plan and to add over 2,000 linear feet of sidewalks – both projects are significant improvements for residents and visitors.
Other BLT projects to enhance tourism include free WiFi hotspot and bike racks in the historic downtown, pole banners along the length of Main Street, www.angelscampfun.com web site and Facebook page for planning outdoor activities in the area, 49 Things to Do from Angels Camp brochure, branded merchandise, and walking tour maps.
Recognizing that the city needed a targeted and broad-based economic development program, the Brand Leadership Team proposed to broaden its mandate to focus on economic development and well as destination development.