Old - DO NOT USE - The Coast News Rancho Santa Fe

Cities agree on a joint marketing campaign to attract businesses to North County

REGION — Cities along state Route 78 have agreed to collaborate in a joint marketing campaign to attract businesses nationwide to North County.

The idea of the campaign is that the cities of Oceanside, Carlsbad, Vista, San Marcos, and Escondido have more to offer together.

“Collectively we are so much stronger,” Christina Vincent, Carlsbad economic development manager, said. “Carlsbad has 15 million square feet of industry space, regionally we have 52 million square feet. There is strength speaking as a region.”

Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall said the joint campaign reflects what cities are already doing.

Businesses that start in one North County city often expand and move to a nearby city or open additional offices in adjacent cities.

Under the agreement cities will formally work together to attract and keep growing businesses in the area.

“We’ve already hit a homerun by getting five mayors to aligned in a vision plan that benefits their own city and the whole region,” Hall said.

Working together as a region the five cities can offer more business space and a wider variety of housing to attract companies to the area.

Oceanside Councilman Jerry Kern said the collaboration benefits all cities by keeping businesses in the area and allowing people to live close to where they work.

“Instead of turning them away and saying no, we keep them in North County,” Kern said.

Mayors and economic development personnel have been discussing the idea for two years. During that time they have held a verbal agreement to market collectively.

“It’s always useful to have a larger impact,” Oceanside City Manager Steve Jepsen said. “It puts us in competition at a statewide and national level with the combined population base and resources of the combined cities.”

Last year each city invested $23,000 for a regional marketing study to be conducted to identify target industries, and create a joint marketing campaign and shared logo.

The regional business plan and logo will be shared in March.

At that time mayors and city managers will ask their city councils to approve a formal memo of understanding (MOU) for the joint marketing agreement, and $35,000 to hire an agency to implement the marketing plan.

Oceanside City Council unanimously approved the MOU and expenditure on Feb. 19.

“It’s a good thing for the amount of money involved,” Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood said. “It will address the corridor, community housing, and primarily bring in more businesses and jobs.”

Carlsbad City Council will vote on approving the agreement March 11.

“I’m happy to be a part of the process,” Vincent said. “It’s a great collaboration between mayors, city councils, economic development staff — at every level to move the region forward.”