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You belong here - 2019The City of Burnsville introduced its "You Belong Here" motto during the 2019 Fire Muster. Photo compliments of the City of Burnsville.Sep 13, 2019
You Belong here introduced 2019The City of Burnsville introduced its "You Belong Here" campaign during the 2019 Fire Muster. Photo compliments of the City of Burnsville.Sep 13, 2019
You belong here - 2019The City of Burnsville introduced its "You Belong Here" motto at the 2019 Fire Muster. Photo compliments of the City of Burnsville.Sep 13, 2019
You belong here - 2019The City of Burnsville introduced its "You Belong Here" motto at the 2019 Fire Muster. Photo compliments of the City of Burnsville.Sep 13, 2019
City of Burnsville unveils "You Belong Here" motto 2019September 9, 2019 Savage Pacer reports on the unveiling of Burnsville's "You Belong Here" motto.
By Christine Schuster cschuster@swpub.com Sep 9, 2019

You Belong Here Burnsville

Burnsville Mayor Elizabeth Kautz adopted the city’s official motto, “You Belong Here” at the Sept. 3 City Council meeting. Letters displaying the motto were unveiled at the entrance of Burnsville Civic Center Park during the city’s annual Fire Muster celebration Sept. 4-7.
Photo by Christine Schuster

BURNSVILLE — The city of Burnsville launched a new motto focused on inclusion at the annual Fire Muster festival last week.

Burnsville Mayor Elizabeth Kautz proclaimed the city’s official motto, “You Belong Here,” at the Sept. 3 City Council meeting. Four-foot tall letters spelling out the motto were unveiled at the entrance of Burnsville Civic Center Park during the muster Sept. 4-7.

Burnsville strives to be an inclusive place for its diverse residents and visitors, Kautz said during the proclamation. Continuing to “welcome new faces and businesses will further enrich our culture and opportunities for success,” she said.

The city heard feedback from over 1,000 residents, non-residents and community stakeholders in developing the messaging campaign, according to the city.

History of Fire Muster

The Fire Muster celebration started to take root in the late 1970s, when Roger Jackson, a Burnsville resident and fire equipment collector, began entertaining children each summer by displaying his equipment and organizing a small parade down Nicollet Avenue, according to the Fire Muster website.

The official city-wide celebration began in 1980.

The festival draws fire equipment from departments and collectors from throughout the Midwest. In 2004, the Fire Muster’s Fire Truck Parade was cited in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest fire truck parade in the world with over 120 trucks.

Today, the festival is organized by a nonprofit corporation, similar to Savage’s Dan Patch Days.
Sep 13, 2019
You Belong here introduced 2019Photo by John Gessner - Burnsville Eagan Sun/Thisweek News September 12. 2019 introducing Burnsville's new branding slogan.Sep 13, 2019
You belong here - 2019Burnsville Eagan Sun/Thisweek News - September 12, 2019 reports on the unveiling of Burnsville's new slogan...

You Belong Here- by John Gessner Sept 12, 2019

Burnsville unveils new branding slogan

You Belong Here, the city of Burnsville announced last weekend, rolling out the slogan from a branding and marketing campaign aimed at wooing business and burnishing the mature community’s image.

The slogan was publicly debuted at the 39th annual Burnsville Fire Muster, where it was displayed in 4-foot letters at the entrance to the festival grounds in Civic Center Park.

The punchy message was stenciled and spray-painted throughout the grounds, where it was also geo-tagged on Snapchat.

The $195,000 branding campaign is part of a larger economic development and redevelopment plan the City Council launched last year. Its goals include improving the images of the city and Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191, ensuring continued viability of Burnsville Center and the County Road 42 corridor, maintaining Burnsville’s status as a regional destination and continuing development in the Heart of the City.

You Belong Here is adaptable to multiple audiences, from longtime residents to would-be residents and businesses, said Marty Doll, the city’s communications and community engagement director.

“We definitely want the community to feel that sense and buy into this theme of You Belong Here,” Doll said. “It came out of a lot of community focus groups and surveys, so of course we want the internal community to see it and feel it and believe in it. But we also want to have a big focus externally, outside of Burnsville.”

The next step is working with consultant AE2S on a marketing plan, Doll said. Advertising in trade publications, on billboards and on Minnesota Valley Transit Authority buses are possibilities, he said.

The slogan will typically be paired with the city’s blue and green logo depicting water and trees, according to Doll.

Placement of the slogan on city structures and vehicles will be determined as they need replacing or upgrading, according to Doll. One giant platform — the Heather Hills water tower, Burnsville’s largest — will become available when it’s repainted next year, but officials haven’t decided whether to use the slogan, Doll said.

The city’s $195,000 contract with AE2S, a division of Advanced Engineering and Environmental Services, includes funding for marketing as well as brand development.

More than 1,400 people contributed to branding the process, AE2S said: 805 respondents to a digital survey, 30 people engaged for interviews and group discussions, 600 people who wrote on display boards or responded to questions at community events, and 20 Burnsville third-graders whose entries in the I Love Burnsville Week essay contest were reviewed.

A common theme among the responses is that Burnsville is a “beautiful city with many parks and green spaces,” an AE2S report said. “People enjoyed the opportunity to live in a greater natural environment (and) still be close to the amenities of the Twin Cities. This was most prevalent in ages 36-plus.”

Many in that demographic said they “felt safe” in Burnsville, a great city to raise kids, the report said.

“Another common response pointed to the diversity of the community,” the report said. “Many felt that diversity was a positive and added to the cultural richness of the community, especially those in the 26-45 age group.”

Other common themes were the need to improve “negative perceptions” of School District 191 and to improve the Burnsville Center area, the report said.

AE2S compiled a list of 40 possible themes based on community input. The list was narrowed to eight after review by a city team and to four with further review by AE2S and city staffers along with representatives of District 191, Experience Burnsville and the Burnsville YMCA leadership.

Among the four finalists, You Belong Here was the top choice in weighted ranked-choice voting by the project team and City Council members.

It was up to the City Council at an Aug. 13 work session to choose between You Belong Here; Community with Unity; Naturally Beautiful Uniquely Burnsville; and Community. Opportunity. Unity.

In earlier voting by the project team and council members, You Belong Here was the top choice in weighted ranked-choice voting.

At the work session, council members Dan Gustafson, Dan Kealey and Vince Workman backed You Belong Here.

It’s appropriate for a diverse city, where “we need to put the message out to people — if you live here, you’re family here. ... If you’re here, this is your home,” Gustafson said.

Workman said the slogan is “versatile, clean, simple,” with “a lot of emotional appeal.”

Mayor Elizabeth Kautz, absent from the work session, left word that she preferred Community with Unity.

Council Member Cara Schulz said none of the four excited her, and she’d go with the council’s majority choice.

“I am hopeful that the implementation brings up that logo and the tagline and makes me more whelmed, because I am under the whelm,” Schulz said.
Sep 13, 2019
Minnesota Valley Transit AuthorityMInnesota Valley Transit Authority, 1999.Sep 13, 2019
Burnsville fire vehicleFire Department truck, 1999.Sep 13, 2019
City of Burnsville carCity owned vehicle, 1999.Sep 13, 2019
City campusWelcome sign at the City Hall and Police Station off Nicollet Avenue, 1999.Sep 13, 2019
Burnsville seeks help developing a brand and marketing capaign 2019 (CLICK TO OPEN)January, 2019 the City announced plans to develop an on going brand and marketing campaign, through this information sent to marketing professionals.Sep 05, 2019
Online Utility Bill Pay 2019An informational brochure created by the City of Burnsville explaining online bill pay options for utility bills.Sep 04, 2019
Party on the Plaza 2019#Burnsville Love - Party on the Plaza, June 2019.Sep 01, 2019
Party on the Plaza 2019#Burnsville Love - Party on the Plaza, June 2019, photo compliments of the City of Burnsville.Sep 01, 2019
Party on the Plaza 2019Party on the Plaza, June 2019, photo compliments of the City of Burnsville.Sep 01, 2019
Meet your police and fire August 2019The Burnsville Police and Fire departments, along with the Dakota County Sheriff's Office presented a free evening to promote safety, crime prevention and positive community relationships. Included were hamburgers, hot dogs, snacks and beverages while getting to know your local emergency responders. The event will included police cars, fire trucks, the Mobile Command Post, demonstrations and more. Photo compliments of the City of Burnsville.Aug 28, 2019
City hires firm for brand development, marketing 2019by John Gessner Apr 18, 2019 - Burnsville Sun/Thisweek News

Burnsville is hiring a marketing firm to develop and publicize a city brand — an identity that accentuates the city’s best features, unique character and natural assets.

The City Council voted Tuesday to hire AE2S Communications at a cost of up to $195,000. The contract with the firm requires the brand to be ready for unveiling at the 2019 Burnsville Fire Muster festival Sept. 4-7.

Branding is part of a broader plan the council approved last November to boost efforts to attract growth and redevelopment.

“The city is in a strong position for success with over 2,500 local businesses, excellent freeway access, a skilled and diverse workforce, and history as a destination within the Twin Cities metropolitan area,” says the new plan, which vows to “take the community to the next level in its evolution.”

The plan lays out strategies for attracting development and redevelopment and improving the image of Burnsville and Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191.

Branding is part of a strategy for continuing the city’s status as a regional destination. The plan’s first goal is ensuring the sustainability of Burnsville Center, which has struggled with vacancies in a changing retail environment, and the surrounding County Road 42 retail corridor. The city has adopted a redevelopment plan for the center and corridor.

AE2S will begin by learning about the community from city officials and others, said Andrea Boe, the company’s practice leader and marketing strategist.

Steps will include conducting interviews, hearing from focus groups and doing a community survey, Boe said. The process will tap a cross-section of the community, she said.

The city has used similar approaches in past “visioning” exercises, Mayor Elizabeth Kautz said.

“I like what I’m hearing in terms of your process and strategic direction,” she said.

The company will also develop a communications and marketing plan around the brand and identify target audiences, Boe said.

Under the contract, brand-development costs are limited to $136,000 and 2019 media buys to $55,000.

The contract also calls for the company to provide continuing marketing services for five years for no more than $183 per hour.

AE2S is a division of Advanced Engineering and Environmental Services, which has done consulting work in Burnsville. AE2S was selected from among seven firms responding to the city’s request for qualifications for branding and marketing work.
Aug 28, 2019
City of Burnsville Information Center City Hall information center, 2019 includes the Burnsville Bulletin news magazine.Aug 26, 2019
Burnsville Police K9Burnsville Police Department's Officer Lauren Smith and K9 Jet took 2nd place overall in apprehension work at the U.S. Police Canine Association's K9 trials during June, 2019.
Aug 26, 2019
LeRoy Holman 1964LeRoy Holman was one of Burnsville's first police officers after its incorporation.Aug 25, 2019
Taxpayers on the hook for City's $195,000 rebranding campaign 2019April 29, 2019 - Center for the American Experiment:
Written by Tom Steward

Apparently, the city of Burnsville has an image problem. Or is it a branding problem? The agency with the winning bid to redefine the aging suburb puts it this way.

It seems that Burnsville, like many other suburbs of major metropolitan areas, struggle with their brand. Who are we? Where did we come from? What makes Burnsville, Burnsville?

It’s going to cost local taxpayers up to $195,000 this year to figure it out, more in the long run. That’s how much residents will be billed for AE2S Communications, the Grand Forks agency just selected for the project, to rebrand and market Burnsville based on the existential questions raised in its proposal.

But, perhaps most important, is figuring who you really are. What makes you tick? What do you hold dear? Because, quite frankly, if your residents can’t embrace what makes you, you–nobody else will either.

It’s not just Burnsville. Other municipalities that have hired the North Dakota agency at taxpayer expense for an image makeover include Grand Forks ($50,000 for “Way Cooler Than You Think”) and East Grand Forks ($28,000 for “Life Connected”).

Burnsville’s identity crisis emerged from the city’s strategic planning process last year that identified a hodgepodge of issues for the community of 61,000 to tackle. For example:

There is a strong desire for a shared vision everyone can support with a plan to achieve it

Need a brand/identify

City is at “turning point” with tremendous opportunity, but also potential risk

It’s not clear how a new tag line and logo addresses the more pressing concerns on the city’s checklist, including the school district’s “poor reputation,” lack of land for development, young families leaving or avoiding the city and a need to attract more high-tech and start-up companies.

A brand is all about the emotion evoked when talking about a product, or in this case, a community. We will endeavor to capture this emotion and use it to develop a brand for Burnsville through our approach…

Still, city hall touts the “revisioning” process as an essential element of a comprehensive plan to turn things around–tax dollars well spent.

“I like what I’m hearing in terms of your process and strategic direction,” Burnsville Mayor Elizabeth Kautz said at the April 16 city council meeting to approve the plan.

The agency’s fee for convening focus groups, interviews and other activities to build the brand will be capped at $136,000. The remaining $55,000 of the 2019 budget will be spent on marketing the rebranded Burnsville.

“We’re very excited to be working with the city of Burnsville,” Andrea Boe, AE2S practice leader and marketing strategist, said at the city council meeting. “It’s such an important project to further develop your brand. And then also we’ll be working on an integrated marketing communication plan to support the economic development strategic plan.”

Moving forward, it will cost taxpayers $183 per hour for the agency’s services to market and support the city’s shiny new logo over the next five years.

A logo and brand is only part of the process. How do you use it? How should it be implemented? How should you tell people about the new logo?

The “new Burnsville” will be debuted at the city’s annual Fire Muster festival in September.
Aug 24, 2019
You belong here - BurnsvilleBurnsville's You belong here branding campaign begins, August 2019. Photo compliments of the City of Burnsville.Aug 24, 2019
Burnsville - you belong hereA image campaign proposed by the City of Burnsville 2019.Aug 18, 2019
Electrifying additions to the Heart of the CityThe Burnsville Bulletin, Summer 2019 reports that the Heart of the City now includes places where electric cars can recharge.Aug 15, 2019
National acts perform at the Ames CenterThe Burnsville Community Guide 2019 - 2020, page 19, published by Sun/Thisweek News includes an overview of the Ames Center.Aug 15, 2019
Fire Department continues outreach 2019The Burnsville Community Guide 2019 -2020 published by the Sun/Thisweek News page 7 includes this profile of the Fire Department.Aug 15, 2019
City welcomes new police chief 2019The Burnsville Community Guide 2019 - 2020, page 6, published by the Sun/Thisweek News includes a profile of the Police Department and photo of newly selected Police Chief Tanya Schwartz.Aug 15, 2019
Ames Center park areaIn front of Ames Center - photo compliments of Experience Burnsville.Aug 15, 2019
The 2040 comprehensive planThe 2040 comprehensive plan created in 2019.Aug 14, 2019
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