NORTH ADAMS -- The launch of a new tourism website, designations as a cultural district and an Appalachian Trail Community, branding efforts and collaborations with other communities are just a few of the items on Tourism Director Veronica Bosley's agenda for the coming year.
"We should be launching our new website, Explore NorthAdams.com, by the end of March," Bosley said during a public brainstorming session held at Desperado's on Wednesday. "We've been working with a web designer who is donating his time. The site will be really image heavy and have information on where to stay, what to do, where to visit and where to shop."
She said she envisions the site, which will be specific to the city, as a "hub from which you can explore the rest of the area."
As part of her role as tourism director, Bosley said she's been busy finding creative ways to market the city with limited funds.
"We want to brand North Adams as part of the Berkshires brand and the greater Massachusetts brand, but at the same time show the city's unique identity," she said. "We want to market the city to a slightly hipper and edgier audience."
While the median age of a Berkshire tourist is 52, Bosley said the city draws in a younger crowd.
"When I talk to Mass MoCA's marketing department, they see two age groups, one that is between the ages of 26 to 32 and another that is slightly older, but still under 50," she said. "We do attract the typical Berkshire visitors, but I think we draw a slightly younger crowd because of the contemporary art, Indie music and outdoor recreational opportunities we have available."
To help market the city, she's currently in the process of seeking a designation as an Appalachian Trail Community and a cultural district designation from the state. There are also collaborations with neighboring towns in the works and efforts to work with other cultural destinations such as Shelburne Falls.
"I think Veronica has really taken this office up a notch," Mayor Richard J. Alcombright said. "Veronica was the one who originally facilitated talks with the state and Shelburne Falls about putting together scenic train rides through the tunnel. We found that couldn't happen, but it evolved into the recent announcement about the Berkshire Scenic Railway. We really want to have a more regional presence. I think she's really made a lot of things bigger and better and really put us out there into the world in a much greater way than we were two years ago."
However, Bosley told the crowd of about 20 people, she needs volunteers to help out at city-sponsored events or in her office to help keep the momentum going. She also asked the crowd for ideas that could possibly become initiatives in the future.
City Councilor Lisa Blackmer volunteered the idea of creating a FAM (familiarization) Tour for innkeepers in Southern Berkshire.
"I think there are a lot of innkeepers that don't really know what we have to offer," she said. "We don't need to take them to Mass MoCA, they know about that. But we can take them around the city, to a SteepleCats game, to our local restaurants to show them what we have to offer."
Jonathan Secor, director of special programs for MCLA, suggested the tour could be extended to the county's entire hospitality industry.
Other ideas included special programs for the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Mohawk Trail and Mass MoCA's 15th anniversary and increasing the visibility of performing arts organizations.
To reach Jennifer Huberdeau, email jhuberdeau@the transcript.com.