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posted: 9/6/2013 5:30 AM

Downtown Dundees to be focal point in marketing strategy

E. Dundee planning to hire marketer to promote it as well as W. Dundee

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East Dundee leaders are eager to hire a marketing professional who would primarily focus on promoting and driving foot traffic to the downtowns for both East and West Dundee.

While West Dundee officials support the idea, they say they need to run the concept by their own merchants before making a financial commitment.

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"We want to get their feedback because they're the ones with their boots on the ground," West Dundee Village President Chris Nelson said.

East Dundee is in the midst of a downtown revitalization program, and a recent meeting with downtown business owners revealed they wanted more people to patronize downtown establishments, East Dundee Village Administrator Bob Skurla said.

What's more, existing staff in East Dundee is already stretched too thin, Skurla said, which is why the village wants to hire somebody and split the cost with its neighbor to the west.

"It doesn't make sense to market one town and not the other," Skurla said. "You're getting twice the bang for your buck."

The person would develop community events and activities to market downtown Dundee without an east or west connotation. Promoting larger institutions in the Dundees, including Santa's Village, Spring Hill Mall, G.A.T. Guns and downtown parks, would also be part of the job, Skurla said.

Skurla is still working out a budget for the position -- the salary and benefits have not been identified, he said.

Tom Roeser, president and chief executive officer of Otto Engineering, the biggest employer in Carpentersville, has promised to donate $20,000 toward the new hire's salary.

Roeser has several investments in the Dundees. He has bought and rehabbed several properties downtown and elsewhere in East Dundee and is presently helping the Anvil Club manage its renovation project.

In West Dundee, Roeser is part of the board of directors for the Fox Performing Arts Center, a project that aims to convert an abandoned hardware store into a hub for the creative arts.

"I think that the rebirth of East and West Dundee helps Carpentersville, and the more people that see how improved this area has become the better it is," Roeser said. "And I'm willing to invest in a little marketing help."

The plan would be to use Roeser's $20,000 for six months with East and West Dundee putting money aside for it thereafter.

If and when the matter reaches the West Dundee village board after the merchants give feedback, trustees would need to decide whether hiring a marketing coordinator takes precedence over more pressing staffing issues.

"We do have needs in the police, fire, and public works departments," Nelson said.

Skurla's goal is to have someone in place by Oct. 1.

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