Phenix City taking new approach to promotion: 'We have to push back against the negative'

lgierer@ledger-enquirer.comSeptember 17, 2013 

Saying that it is a "sad dog who doesn't wag its own tail," Mayor Eddie Lowe announced Tuesday morning a new campaign to promote the positive aspects of Phenix City.

The campaign is called "Positively Phenix City" and invites people to "Come Grow With Us."

"Every time somebody says something negative to you about Phenix City, I want you to tell them 10 positive things. We have to push back against the negative," Lowe said at a press conference attended by several city officials and workers at the Central Activity Center. "It is a challenge to our citizens."

Economic Development Manager Shaun Culligan called it a "rebranding" for the city that will emphasize Phenix City's many good points.

The mission of the campaign is to inform citizens of current projects taking place within the city, to showcase the city's current assets and local businesses and to encourage the local community to shop Phenix City first. "We're just saying if you can get it in Phenix City, then get it here," Culligan said.

Phenix City got positive news later in the day as Troy University announced it has awarded the construction contract for its new riverfront academic building and activity is expected to begin on the site this month.

Bear Brothers Construction of Montgomery will build the 44,000-square foot, four-story building and is expected to soon begin moving in equipment to the site. Construction is expected to take 14 to 16 months.

“This is the culmination of a 10-year partnership between the city of Phenix City and Troy University,” said Dr. David White, Vice Chancellor of TROY’s Phenix City Campus, in a news release.

“The University was able to accomplish this project thanks to the generosity of the city of Phenix City, as well as business and private donations.”

The new slogan was the idea of city manager Wallace Hunter.

"Some people like to dwell on the negative, but we have a great city and we are on the cusp of a lot of great things happening here. This is a totally new Phenix City. We have projects going in every part of the city making the city look better. Everyone is benefiting. We have great schools. We have the highest credit rating in our history and more money in our reserves," Hunter said.

He said many military families are choosing to live in Phenix City.

Among Phenix City positives highlighted in a short video shown Tuesday were East Alabama Motor Speedway, the Phenix City Riverwalk and whitewater rafting. "I had people tell me whitewater would never happen and now USA Today is listing it as one of the top attractions," Hunter said.

Other items showcased at the conference is a soon to be renovated Phenix Plaza, a new Idle Hour Park Community Center near Moon Lake, the new Fifth Street Sports Complex featuring pools and a renovated gym, the construction of the Troy University Riverfront Campus, and the construction of a 99-room Riverfront Courtyard Marriott near the foot of the 14th Street Pedestrian Bridge.

Hunter said the moves being made are the type that can draw more industry to Phenix City and that city leaders are working closely with those in Columbus to improve and promote the area.

"An adversarial relationship can't work," Hunter said.

The new slogan will be seen everywhere, including billboards. "Signs will be all over town," Lowe said

There is a website,, to which updates will be coming.

"We are trying to change the mindset of people here," Lowe said. "We are going to have everybody thinking positive."

Related stories:

Phenix City to launch new promotional campaign Tuesday

Columbus Regional changing its 'identity' amid new philosophy

Columbus to spend $1.3 million for riverbank work

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