Plan To Boost Population Has To Go Beyond Live, Choose CHQ

We’ve seen enough municipal branding attempts to know their payoff is typically pretty small.

It’s better than nothing – though how much better than nothing is frankly up for debate.

So we hope there is a payoff to the county’s Live CHQ and Choose CHQ programs that were launched last week with dual public events in Jamestown and Dunkirk. Live CHQ is an attempt to show individuals why Chautauqua County is a good place for them to move while Choose CHQ is geared for businesses.

Key themes include promoting the county as an outdoor hub, its affordable cost of living, showcasing the county’s cultural assets and emphasizing economic opportunities.Videos and other ads will be marketed in neighboring cities including Cleveland and Pittsburgh. County officials are also working with area human resources managers to help them recruit employees.

Like we said, we don’t know how much it will help, but it’s something.

County officials readily admit Live and Choose CHQ won’t immediately reverse the county’s trend of population decreases. A next step we’d like to see taken is a survey of area high school graduates who eventually settled somewhere else and the reasons why they chose another area over Chautauqua County.

Such an exercise would tell us more about what the next steps need to be than any platitude or national statistics can. Why are we losing so many of our best and brightest high school graduates? Answer that question, and we’ll know where we need to focus our limited time and dollars.


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