Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation is evolving as part of executive director Kevin Cowling’s vision for the future of the department.
Cowling took office last August with the immediate goal of reforming the identity of the department to become an approachable community service to the citizens of Rome and Floyd County, and the “rebranding” process is only the beginning of that reform.
“We service the citizens of Rome and Floyd County. That’s what we’re here for … and (the rebranding process) is to help get ourselves out there a little more so that people understand that is what we are moving towards and what we hope to do,” Cowling said.
Cowling said RFPRD Marketing Coordinator Lauren Jones-Hillman worked tirelessly to make this vision a reality, from redesigning flyers sent out to students, to remodeling the website and making it more eye-catching and easier to navigate.
“The very first thing that I wanted to do is get the new logo and redo the website because when you would visit the website there was a lot of information on one page, which kind of made it hard for our customers to process,” Jones Hillman said. “What’s neat about the website is that I modeled it completely after the way the previous website was set up. It’s just like a new face for what people were already somewhat familiar with.”
This past April, the department invited local middle and high school students to submit artwork for the logo contest which would determine the new face of Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation.
The department viewed this portion of the process as an opportunity to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses through the young eyes of the community.
“It was sweet when we got all of the art from the kids, but you got to see some things that we need to work on as well, and that’s what rebranding is all about,” Jones Hillman said. “Some kids turned in artwork that only had sports, some artwork only had parks, and some tried to incorporate both, but we do so much more than just those two things. We work with the Special Olympics, programs for senior adults, as well as the free downtown Candy Cane Hunt. We have services for everyone in the community.”
Amongst reforming the image of the department within the community, Cowling said the incorporation of new programs and revisions to youth sports are also within the future goals of the department.
“This year we will more than likely review the spring sports and spring activities once all of the camps are done and we’re moving into our fall sports. We are always looking to improve ourselves whether it’s new programming, which we’re going to be in a spot here in the next few months to do so, and continuing to build our partnerships, making sure that we both share the same mission and that’s improving the quality of life for the citizens of Rome and Floyd County,” Cowling said.
Cowling said the department hopes to start new activities such as knocker soccer, a game played with large inflatable orbs made by the company KnockerBall, as well as building a human foosball table — a foosball table built to adult size — for fall camps in the future.
“I’m excited. I think it’s a good step for the department. I’m very pleased with the reaction we got from the community and from staff,” Cowling said about the changes so far. “Whenever you look for team building projects, whether it be big or small, any little bit helps, and if the community buys into it, they’re going to buy into us, and that’s what this logo and rebranding is about.”