Antioch hires image consultant to get the city's 'swagger back'

Almost everyone in Antioch seems to agree, the city has an image problem. And even the mayor feels it.

"People in Antioch have low self-esteem," said Mayor Sean Wright.

Those who live there believe much of the Bay Area views Antioch as unsafe and uninteresting. But Antioch is looking to change that narrative.

"We need a different story about who we are," said one resident.

The city has hired an image consultant for $95,000 to rebrand Antioch. That consultant began holding small public conversations with residents Tuesday about what they like about Antioch which could help form the new message.

"Our job number one is to help the city get its swagger back,” said consultant Dave Kippen. “People here want to point to the goodness in Antioch. It's a gorgeous place.”

Many in town blame the media for focusing on violence in Antioch. The city has hired more police and Mayor Wright said they’re down 20 percent from last year in violent crime. Residents say the positives get overlooked, like the recreation, beauty and overall livability.

"Antioch has let other people define their message. It is time for Antioch to define its own message," said Wright.

Antioch wrestles with a rising homeless population, but boosters argue so do many cities. It's unclear what the re-brand will look like. But the hope is the new image will attract businesses, job growth and perk up community spirit.

"Antioch is a good person who has had some bad gossip said about it," said resident Sandra Kelly.

The consultant says the new image messaging should begin rolling out in September.