WILKES-BARRE (WOLF) -- When you think of Luzerne County, what comes to mind? A recent survey of locals and visitors aimed to figure out what sets us apart.
Friday, we got the results, along with and some suggestions moving forward.
"I think a lot of local residents kind of figure, whatever, we got the Poconos and everything right next door," said consultant Roger Brooks, of Roger Brooks International. "But this is no second class citizen to what you have around you"
Brooks has optimism for Luzerne County's future, even after the survey of 1,170 people revealed that residents don't think very much of it.
"The people in this county think worse of yourselves than the people outside the county. That's really sad," Brooks said.
He spent the other day touring the area and says there is a lot going for us. Now it comes down to picking that one special something.
"We want to make Wilkes-Barre a destination; a place to visit, a place to work, and a place to live," said Wilkes-Barre mayor Tony George.
To make that a reality Brooks had two main branding ideas: a focus on different trails or on the food variety.
"You've got Japanese, You've got middle eastern. You've got pierogies," Brooks remarked, "It though why doesn't Wilkes-Barre be the international city."
The branding campaign won't just be about finding Luzerne County's niche. It's also about making the area more approachable.
Brooks says it's all about curb appeal. He says adding greenery or outward-facing benches could make more people stop and say, 'hey, let's check this place out!'
Locals are looking forward to change.
"I think our area still needs a lot of work to do," said Cody Welgosh of Hunlock Creek."I've been able to see it coming up and grow from what it was 10, 15 years ago, so I think we're moving in the right direction."
"Bringing a lot of business to downtown, having more people come here, I think that can really change the appearance of Wilkes-Barre," said Wilkes-Barre resident Alanna Denauski.
"[I'm] excited to see it grow a little bit more," added fellow Wilkes-Barre resident Cierra Steele.
This whole push is all to make Luzerne County the best it can be.
"We really have a great story to tell. All the towns do," said executive director of the Luzerne County Visitors Center Theodore Wamploe. "There's no pause here. It's put the gas down a little bit more and let's continue to go forward."
As far as how much this might cost, the visitor's bureau says it depends on what model they develop and how much help they get from local businesses.