Looking at communities with fresh eyes
What we are doing:
Communities in northwest Kansas benefit from a K-State Research and Extension partnership with the Dane G. Hanson Foundation. To build on the strengths and goals of the 26-county area, the foundation provides funds for strategic improvement projects to revitalize rural areas for families and businesses. Nadine Sigle was hired with grant funds as the area community vitality specialist. She knows the area and served as an agent and specialist for 24 years.
- The First Impressions project pairs similar-sized communities. A small team evaluates the other town’s website then visits the community for a first-sight reaction of the downtown, residences, schools and housing.
- After the evaluation is completed, each community meets to review the findings.
- Project examples include improvements to: local grocery stores, walking trails, signage, parks, community upkeep, tree plantings, flag displays, facilities for local schools and evaluating new uses for empty buildings.
- Kansas PRIDE coaches communities on how to work together on chosen projects.
“The foundation trustees recognize that K-State Research and Extension has expertise and programs to help them fulfill their mission. Programs like First Impressions and PRIDE have been beneficial to our communities and counties because they gently help identify ways to improve and recognize strengths that can be developed further.”
— Betsy Wearing, communications coordinator for the Dane G. Hansen Foundation