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Preserve America Grant Project

Blue Island was awarded a FY2008 Round 2 – Preserve America Grant of $102,250 to develop a Comprehensive Cultural Heritage Marketing Strategy.  Special thanks to the Community Development and Marketing Department staff and the Historic Preservation Commissioners who contributed their time and energy to completing the application.

As part of the grant the Community Development Department selected Lawrence Group to help Blue Island develop a cultural heritage brand identity.  Our next step is to move on to marketing, with the goal positioning Blue Island as one of the premier heritage destinations in the Chicagoland region.

Project Title

City of Blue Island’s Cultural Heritage Marketing & Outreach Strategy

Project Summary

Comprehensive Cultural Heritage Marketing Strategy
The City will hire a qualified consultant to develop a comprehensive heritage tourism marketing strategy that includes the development of a collective cultural heritage brand/identity for Blue Island and a marketing/outreach plan that celebrates the City’s history, within the contemporary context. The objective of this strategy will be to extend the reach of existing & future programming by establishing one comprehensive identity for promoting the collaborative efforts of volunteers and businesses who, up to this point, have been working separately. The development of a collective heritage brand will also foster and strengthen partnerships between volunteer organizations, business and agencies, while boosting morale within the community. Community input and the incorporation of existing heritage programming and materials will be central to this strategy.

Outreach Program
The City will use the results of the comprehensive marketing strategy to develop outreach materials and a tour to promote its new cultural heritage brand. Materials will include historical markers, wayfinding signage, web development, the creation and placement of advertisements and brochures, and the creation of a multi-page document about Blue Island’s history. A corner piece to this program is to involve the collection of oral histories. The goals of the outreach program are to raise awareness and excitement for the new cultural heritage brand with Blue Island residents and to attract heritage tourists from the metro area and beyond.

Project Activities

Historic Branding (completed Feb. 2010)

Lawrence Group has completed the branding and tag-line for the Preserve America project, and we’re very excited about their work.

Our new marketing logo highlights Blue Island’s natural history, as well as offers up a fresh new color palette.  The logo has an illustrative quality, with a leaf representing Blue Island’s tree-lined historic residential districts as well as the growing importance of sustainability and all things “green” in our community.  The undulating lines beneath the text represent Blue Island’s natural geography with a nod to our future, as recreation along the Cal-Sag grows in importance.

The tagline “Think Outside the Loop” was selected to compliment the logo, and it’s a great fit.  With our new logo we’re asking people to rethink this community, to embrace new ideas, and enjoy the history, culture, and recreational opportunities available in BI.  Of course, Blue Islanders have traditionally described our central business district as “Uptown” to distinguish it from Chicago’s “Downtown,” or the Loop, and the tagline is a cheeky play on that history for some of us.  For others, we liked the tagline’s active quality, inviting the reader to think of Blue Island as a unique destination, something “outside the loop” of what you typically find in suburban Chicagoland.

So get ready to join us as we “think outside” and expand horizons, change minds, and invite people to discover what some of us have known for generations… there’s a lot to offer here in Blue Island!

Marketing/Outreach (Kick-off: April 2010)

  • Develop a comprehensive marketing plan to advertise the “historical identity” and encourage residents and visitors alike to learn more about the history Blue Island has to offer.
  • Marketing plan will also include a budget of all the media Blue Island will use to promote its history, cultural diversity and architecture.

Materials Development

  • Place advertisements in local and regional newspapers and magazines.
  • Develop and produce bilingual visitors guide.
  • Distribute visitors guide.
  • Formulate and distribute multi-page bilingual magazine about Blue Island’s history.

Website Development

  • Produce bilingual website displaying and describing Blue Island’s historical and cultural heritage, including historic buildings, sites and districts, and events.


  • Design and display signs indicating Blue Island’s architecture, historical events and incorporating the “Historic Branding” at major roads when entering Blue Island.

Oral History

  • Working with students from Blue Island’s Eisenhower High School, residents will be able to view local documentaries about Blue Island’s history, hear stories from long-term residents, and explore Blue Island’s culture in various media formats. Residents will be able to access these histories at the Blue Island Historical Society Museum situated in the Blue Island Public Library and through the city’s website.