East Gude Drive Corridor in Rockville Could Become Rock East District (R.E.D.)

by Patrick Herron

East Gude Drive Corridor in Rockville Could Become Rock East District (R.E.D.)

Rockville could be adding a new district within the city along East Gude Dr. that will be known as the Rock East District (R.E.D.).

Rockville is looking to rebrand the area as a makers district that ties the breweries, distillery, restaurants, trails, sports businesses, retail, auto repair, and home improvement businesses together with the logo and tagline “Experiences Made Here.”

The Mayor and Council will likely make their decision at this Monday’s Mayor and Council meeting.

You can download a copy of the agenda here.

Details from the agenda below:

The idea of the Rock East District (R.E.D.) was generated by Rockville Economic Development,
Inc. (REDI) in response to a desire to highlight Rockville’s commercial neighborhoods.

According the U.S. Travel Association, there is an “active link between branding, tourism and
economic development [so that a] ‘strong destination brand does more than build awareness;
it engenders affinity that can lead to more visitors, and by attracting businesses and talent, it
helps create a thriving community.’” Place Branding for Small Cities, Regions and Downtowns,
by Bill Baker, p. 57. “An important principle underpinning community branding is that what
may be attractive to visitors can also be appealing to new residents, businesses and investors.”

After an RFP process, a local marketing firm, G & A Advertising, Inc. (GKA) was hired by REDI to
create a pilot to market the East Gude area in a way that would: a) create a destination; b)
enhance sense of place branding; c) entice younger generations of workers and people to live in
the city and to visit; and d) support our local businesses. Starting in the summer of 2020, GKA
and REDI worked with a stakeholder group to develop a brand, logo and tagline.

Additionally, M. Luis Construction is working with REDI to allow a mural to be installed on their
property to hopefully spark a mural program in the area, and VisArts is working with REDI to
procure an artist for the project. The Committee has met frequently to provide input on
positioning the East Gude area as a makers district named the Rock East District that ties the
breweries, distillery, restaurants, trails, sports businesses, retail, auto repair, and home
improvement businesses together. This has resulted in a logo and tagline “Experiences Made

City staff received correspondence dated June 15, 2021, from REDI Chief Executive Officer
Cynthia Rivarde requesting the governing body’s formal endorsement of the Rock East District
area designation. (Attachment B).

The next step is launching the brand, which will include installation of banners in the district,
and a launch event planned September 9 – 12, 2021 to highlight the businesses and the new
district. (REDI) has requested use of City of Rockville streetlight poles to display banners and
riders along the East Gude Drive corridor between Southlawn Lane and Norbeck Road to
identify the location of the newly-designated Rock East District. The banner mockup is
attached, incorporating images and the logo. The banners are double-sided and doublepaneled, serving as wayfinding tools for residents, visitors, and employees navigating to the
many “maker” type businesses that are located in that area of the Rock East District.

Attachment C identifies the 24 poles (shown with red circles around the streetlight pole
number) REDI and the Department of Public Works proposes for the banner locations.
If the Mayor and Council approves the Rock East District designation, City staff and REDI will
finalize the location of the banners and riders. Also, the team will develop a set of guidelines
and specifications for the Placement, Attachment Equipment, Banner Requirements, and
Maintenance that will be used on this project, which can serve as a pilot to facilitate similar
banner placement in future districts that may be approved by the Mayor and Council. Details
regarding the launch events will be announced to the Mayor & Council as they are confirmed.

The banners and launch event will be fully funded by REDI. City staff will support by providing
supplemental communications to residents about the district, permitting banner installation
within City right-of-way, and helping to install the banners. (Graphics and mapping are


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