Liberty seeks public’s help to brand itself

LIBERTY — Township trustees are asking for public participation to decide how to brand the township.

They are looking into rebranding the township to become more attractive to new and potential residents while reminding current residents of the pride they should feel for their hometown.

RJ Thompson, an award-winning Youngstown State University design professor, is creating a new logo and website for the township, but said he needs input from the public to help promote the great people and places within the township.

“He (Thompson) wants to hold a number of sessions together to find out what Liberty wants, what Liberty is and what they stand for,” Trustee Arnie Clebone said last week during the trustees meeting.

Thompson will be holding four focus groups: 5 p.m. Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. Thursday, 5 p.m. May 2 and noon May 4. All sessions are at the township building with the exception of the April 25 session. These sessions will focus on branding and community storytelling.

The branding project also will impact the Belmont Corridor Study, which the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments wants to combine with Thompson’s project. The corridor is a big part of Liberty’s identity since it is the gateway in and out of Liberty, Clebone said.

“(Thompson) wants to be involved in what Liberty could look like and some of that could be community art projects. We may be able to get artwork throughout the township and it could be an attractive thing to do, we’ll see,” said Clebone. “We’re very fortunate that Eastgate has chosen us to be the first corridor study they’re going to do.”

Also at the meeting, Liberty police Sgt. Ray Buhala was promoted to captain and recognized for his work in the LaRue Brown homicide in April 2017. Interim Chief Toby Meloro awarded Buhala with a plaque for his outstanding investigation with the case.

“As public servants, at the end of the day, it’s not about what you have or even what you accomplished, it’s about who you lifted up, who you made better. It’s about giving back to your community, your homes, your lives and that’s what we’re all about,” said Meloro. “I ordered a plaque for this guy, who led the investigation and had a full confession within 24 hours. The first responders did a great job, but (Buhala) put it all together. I’m proud to serve with him and have him as my captain.”

In addition to Buhala’s promotion, officer Chad McGarry was promoted to sergeant.

Liberty Schools Superintendent Joseph Nohra spoke during public comments about his plans for the school district moving forward. He hopes to develop a career tech program to provide students with work experience and get them involved in the community.

He also said he’s proud of the relationship the schools have with the police department and hopes to continue it by hiring a second school resource officer. He asked the board to consider these requests for the future.