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Russell Community Members Hear Results of First Impressions Program

First ImpressionA handful of Russell community members gathered Thursday evening at the Russell City Building to hear how visitors view Russell.

Recently a volunteer team from another community of similar size made a visit to Russell to report their "First Impressions" of the community. The team acted as "secret shoppers" for the day to discover what they could about Russell. They followed a set procedure established through the "First Impressions" program and documented their results. These results were shared Thursday.

The results were presented by Nadine Sigle from K-State Research and Extension. She serves as a Community Vitality Extension Associate.

Some of the most positive observations by the visitors were the friendliness of the townspeople, the many native limestone buildings, well maintained parks and schools, art and murals, and a vision for future development.

Some of the biggest obstacles and challenges they observed included the disconnect between Interstate and the downtown area, lack of housing options, less than inviting entrances into town, renovation and occupancy of historic downtown buildings, and business attraction.

Sigle commented Russell has many nice things, such as several parks, but it's just hard to find some of them - further explaining that the new wayfinding signs are great, but even more promotion of what Russell has to offer and where those things are located would help.

"First Impressions" is a program developed by K-State Research and Extension through the Community Vitality program. The focus of the program is to help communities learn about existing strengths and weaknesses through the eyes of a visitor. The results from a "First Impressions" visit can serve as the basis for community action and as a way to document changes in a community over time.

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