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Is the Burien rebrand government waste, or a wise investment?

Burien. (Michael Allen Smith, Flickr)

Have you been to Burien lately? You might not be the only one. KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz hasn’t.

“If you were to ask me, ‘if you were to move anywhere in the State of Washington, where would it be?’ Burien, I wouldn’t even remember is an area of Washington,” Rantz said. “It wouldn’t come anywhere close to the top of my list. I’d maybe have to go through 30 other cities, and part of them I’d cheat and say they were out of Washington state, before I got to Burien.”

Sentiments like that could be why the City of Burien is throwing money at improving its image.

The B-Town Blog reports that the City of Burien is aiming to spend up to $149,300 for a re-branding project. It has hired JayRay, a Tacoma-based agency for the job.

It’s an idea that Rantz thinks is worth the spending.

“I actually like this idea,” he said. “In theory, this is a worthwhile expenditure &#8212 $150,000, I understand that to you and me that’s a lot of money, but when we are talking about government spending and long term investments, $150,000 is a drop in the bucket.”

“You bring one new business of moderate size into Burien, maybe a couple new homeowners, you make up that $150,000 cost in a few years,” Rantz said. “They are paying taxes, they are put ting money into the local economy, they are shopping, they are inviting friends and customers over.”

In its request for proposals, Burien stated that it is a “young, growing city built from a 100-year-old waterfront community on the Puget Sound.” It says that as it completes a redevelopment of its town square, the city expects an inter-generation population to move into its downtown and would like to establish a brand as the town moves forward.

A rebranding effort is something that could draw a lot of criticism, Rantz notes. And for good reason.

“You’ve got a lot of fresh examples of government agencies doing this kind of thing and wasting money,” Rantz said. “The first thing that comes to mind…the Seattle Public Library changing its name to ‘Seattle Public Libraries.’ We’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on this and then we scrap it because everyone realizes it’s a bad idea.”

But it’s not always a bad idea, and Burien is an example of that.

“We have become so resistant to any kind of government spending, I think sometimes we end up shooting ourselves in the foot and saying ‘no’ to common sense ideas,” Rantz said. “This seems like one of them.”

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