The Catoosa County Vision 2020 Committee recently bantered about branding the county’s tourism.

Catoosa County Chairman Bill Clark said one of the key promotion issues is branding — defining who and what the county is for the potential tourist.

“It has to be obvious,” he said. “It has to be attractive.”

Clark said one idea was “Gateway to Southern History,” while committee member Roger Bowman suggested “Historic Catoosa.” Clark also suggested using a design created for his book “History in Catoosa County” as a logo.

The logo includes an outline of the county featuring a horse at full gallop with a soldier riding with sword drawn. A Confederate battle flag waves in the wind behind him. Also, it contains a figure of a pioneer in a coonskin cap carrying a musket is incorporated.

Committee member Phil Erli said during the July 23 meeting at the Catoosa Governmental Building, that the brand needs to be something that is universally understood.

“You’ve got to find something that will appeal to everyone,” he said. “If I come from New Hampshire, I’m not going to know what Catoosa is.”

Erli said people don’t come to Catoosa to find out more about the Native Americans or WW II.

“What we’ve got to offer is our relationship to what happened in the War Between the States,” he said.

Committee member Randall Peters said railroad history is another big part of the county.

Peters said if Catoosa uses a logo that features the Confederate battle flag, it might not appeal to all people.

Erli said the county should focus on what Gen. Patrick Cleburne did in Ringgold, holding off the Union forces at Ringgold Gap as the Confederate army retreated in 1863.

“You could sell that story,” he said.

He suggested a Cleburne event could be the county’s offering during the upcoming 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, which is from 2011-2015.

Discussion moved on with no particular decision about branding other than possibly asking some area-marketing professionals to consider the issue.

County Manager Ron Brown announced that plans are under way to expand and improve parking along Ooltewah-Ringgold Road to allow better access to the site where the General locomotive ran out of steam during the Great Locomotive Chase during the Civil War.

Committee member Nelson Richardson suggested signage be added to the road advising motorists that they are approaching the site.

Brown also said work is underway cleaning the Battle of Ringgold Gap site making it a better interpretive location for tourists.

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