photo 3 Arlington Unveils New Downtown Signage, Ad Campaign

An Arlington city employee places new signage on a downtown pole on May 23, 2012. (Credit: Joel Thomas)

ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – City, business and community leaders gathered for an early morning ceremony Wednesday and launched the dawn of a new image campaign for downtown.

The climax of the outdoor breakfast get-together was to be two parachutists landing inside the downtown amphitheater. The parachutist carrying the new downtown flag couldn’t fight through strong winds to land on his mark, however.

But planners say they’re still on course to market the resurgent downtown as a regional destination or, at the very least, an addition to a visit that might include sports or Six Flags Over Texas.

The sales pitch: Music, culture, food, shopping.

“For years, no one thought Arlington had a downtown,” said Robert Johnson, chairman of the Downtown Arlington Management Corporation, a private, non-profit group that coordinates downtown activity. “So we’re using this as an opportunity to let people know that Arlington has a downtown. It’s a vibrant place.”

City leaders say the branding is designed to distinguish downtown Arlington as a destination like Greenville Avenue in Dallas or Sundance Square in Fort Worth.

“I’m not competing with them,” Mayor Robert Cluck said. “But I just want us to have an active fun atmosphere in downtown Arlington. One of the reasons is my office is right there and I like to see people having fun,” he said as he pointed to City Hall, which is in the middle of the recent development.

Shortly after the morning ceremony, work crews made their way down downtown streets hanging up light pole banners with the new logo and slogan.

People in Arlington like the signs of change for downtown.

“I love it,” said Trisha Michael who lives nearby. “I love the signs I just noticed. And I love all the restaurants that just opened up; things to do.”

And business owners say Arlington visitors have added downtown to the city’s attractions.

“We’ve got people from Mansfield,” said Charlie Bostick of Babe’s Chicken Restaurant, one of the first businesses in the renovated Center Street area. “We’ve got people from Southlake, Keller. I mean, you know, this is the central location if you want to go to a ballgame or go to Six Flags and this is the place to come to.”

And that’s the message Arlington will push in publications, on billboards and online in the coming months, Cluck says.