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Milwaukee to soon be seeking marketing consultant for streetcar line

Milwaukee officials will soon be seeking a firm to help market its new streetcar line.

In a memo to city officials, Department of Public Works commissioner Ghassan Korban noted his department intends to issue a request for proposals on Tuesday for marketing services for the 2.5-mile line being built downtown and near the lakefront.

According to the memo, the marketing consultant will be responsible for planning and carrying out a marketing and communications plan; developing advertising materials; setting up and managing a system website and social-media accounts; conducting public relations and market research; conducting awareness campaigns and promotional events; and working with third-party organizations, among other things.

In selecting a consultant, the city will look at factors like contract costs, experience, qualifications and approach.

The RFP will be available on the DPW website. Proposals will be due by 4 p.m. Dec. 22, and a respondent will be chosen early next year.

Korban wrote that the contract will run for three years, allowing for two possible one-year extensions.

The construction of the streetcar, which is being overseen by Omaha, Neb.-based Kiewit Corp., will finish up in late 2018. Its initial routes include a downtown loop and lakefront line extension. The city also has plans to extend the line into other neighborhoods.

In September, the city named Lombard, Ill.-based Transdev Services as the streetcar’s operator. Last month the city also announced the streetcar will officially be called The Hop, sponsored by Potawatomi Hotel and Casino. As part of that sponsorship deal, the Forest County Potawatomi Community will be providing $10 million over 12 years to cover the streetcar’s operating costs. The money will also pay for a year’s worth of rides free of charge to the public.

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