08/27/14 — Fremont officials eyeing change in town

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Fremont officials eyeing change in town

By Ethan Smith
Published in News on August 27, 2014 1:46 PM

FREMONT -- The town of Fremont will soon be getting something of a facelift after several decisions were made by the Small Town Economic Prosperity committee at a meeting Tuesday night.

Following a presentation by Judy Hills on the results of a citizen shopping survey that revealed the general response that Fremont is "geared towards the AARP crowd and the town is dying," STEP committee members discussed a small business action plan to combat that image.

Suggestions to boost economic activity included improving merchandise selections in stores, finding unique products and services that would fill a niche market and making sure that business owners feel welcome in the community.

As of Aug. 8, 73 people had responded to the survey that was passed out around the town by the STEP committee, representing only 8 percent of the population. Hills said the statistical significance of the numbers is insignificant. What matters, he said, is the insight provided by those who did respond.

"There are two ways you can go in a town like this," Hills said. "You can throw a mixed bag out filled with things that you hope the community will go for, or you can do something unique to the area and find a niche."

Hills went on to encourage members of the STEP committee and the community to consider something different that would attract people to Fremont.

"If you keep doing what you're doing, you'll get what you've always got," Hills said. "It's the same people doing the same things all the time, and they get burnt out. It's up to the community to make it happen, and it always has been. It didn't get this way overnight, and it won't be fixed overnight."

Part of the plan to make the town more attractive will be a rebranding project to update the town symbol -- but the daffodils won't be going anywhere.

"When I first brought up updating the icon I thought I was going to have to go into hiding," said Keith Spivey, chairman of the STEP committee. "People would stop me on the street and say, 'That's the guy that wants to get rid of the icon.' We are not getting rid of the icon. We're just improving it to bring it into the 21st century."