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Cities along state Route 78 corridor chip in $23,000 each for regional marketing

REGION — Cities along the state Route 78 corridor are banking on regional marketing to attract more businesses to North County.

Oceanside approved $23,000 for annual regional marketing on June 25.

The cities of Carlsbad, Vista, and Escondido have also approved funds, and San Marcos will OK funds in July.

Once San Marcos is officially on board, a regional logo and campaign will be launched to attract out of area businesses.

Cities will continue their own marketing, but regional efforts will highlight the collective resources cities share. This includes regional workers, colleges and universities, and housing.

Another big plus North County has to offer to businesses is available land for development, and empty buildings to set up shop.

“More businesses within San Diego County are looking for an alternative,” Steve Jepsen, Oceanside city manager, said. “We want them to be aware of the assets North County has to offer.”

Businesses will bring in additional revenues and jobs, and change North County sprawling bedroom communities into one collective region to live, work and play.

Tracey Bohlen, Oceanside economic development manager, said regional visioning is the new economic development thinking.

“It’s very attractive to companies,” Bohlen said.

Oceanside set aside $35,000 in February for regional marketing efforts. The approved $23,000 out of those funds will get first year marketing efforts started. The remainder of set aside funds will be allocated to future regional marketing expenses.

The marketing campaign by San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation will begin when all cities have signed on. Services will include material development, target audience selection, ad placement, and aid in business recruitment.

The campaign is anticipated to explode with a website, materials, and kick off celebration by the end of summer.

Collaborative efforts to develop a regional brand have been going on for  two years.

A logo has been designed by North Star under the direction of North County city economic directors, mayors and city managers, but will be kept under wraps until the campaign kick off.

“It will be July or August until we roll it out to the world,” Bohlen said.

“It’s really fresh. It’s a really good interpretation of our area.”

Oceanside City Council will get a first look at the logo June 30, prior to the regional marketing kick off date.