Friday, July 25, 2014

Videos promoting Luzerne County in the works

July 01. 2014 11:20PM

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A New York company is compiling videos promoting Luzerne County at no cost to taxpayers, said county Manager Robert Lawton.

A new posting on the county website ( hints at the plans, saying, “Coming soon! Streaming community videos” along with a graphics of popcorn and the American flag.

Rochester-based CGI Communications Inc. will produce the videos in exchange for the right to seek advertising sponsors, Lawton said. The company has completed similar projects for more than 300 local and county governments across the country, including Dauphin County in the Harrisburg area and Westmoreland County near Pittsburgh, he said.

In addition to a welcome video, CGI will provide five additional videos, about a minute each, focusing on topics such as quality of life, business and industry, attractions and education, according to a contract posted on the county website that Lawton signed with CGI in April.

CGI also will produce a community organization video promoting charities, nonprofits and community development organizations, the contract said.

Lawton said he felt comfortable accepting the offer because CGI’s videos have received positive reviews from other government entities, and the company is a member of the National Association of Counties and National League of Cities.

“This is not a fly-by-night outfit, and this provides us with a level of technical expertise that we don’t have,” Lawton said.

The videos could help attract employers, visitors and new residents, he said.

“I’m happy Luzerne County will be joining other counties in and around Pennsylvania already taking advantage of this opportunity,” he said.

The welcome videos typically includes a government official, but Lawton said he has no interest in appearing in the video.

“I’ll leave it up to council to decide who the spokesperson should be,” he said.

Lawton has asked county Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Merle Mackin to take the lead working with CGI to identify key locations to be featured.

“He will work with the chambers of commerce and make sure the southern as well as northern part of the county is included and represented in the vision,” Lawton said.

Lawton has final approval over the video content, the contract says.

Mackin said he just started working with CGI representatives and has not received a schedule for targeted completion.

He already has a long list of sites worthy of inclusion, including waterfalls at the Seven Tubs Nature Area in Plains Township, the River Common recreational area along the Susquehanna River in downtown Wilkes-Barre with the historic county courthouse in the background and Eckley Miners’ Village in Foster Township.

The county’s colleges and universities, the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Township, the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Plains Township and health care facilities also should be featured, he said.

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