This is the time of year we take a good look around the house and yard—and begin spring cleanup. The new season gives us a chance to evaluate our homes and landscapes and decide what we can do to dress things up this year. We can do the same for our communities, by taking an objective look around town. First impressions and general appearances matter in economic development—and we can work together to “spring clean” our communities.
Every town has a postcard image, a place or a scene that is a visual recognition point for the community. In some places, it’s an iconic Main Street with historic buildings and bright awnings. Other towns have a unique water tower or a beautifully landscaped and inviting city park. These images stick with visitors and make a community memorable—and appealing to new companies and new families.
There are a lot of solid reasons for making the community look good—and for thinking outside the box to help create a great first impression. Check out your welcome signs, if you have them, and consider adding some if you don’t. Put some punch in those signs and don’t be afraid to enlist community artists to make them more dramatic. Many communities have murals on the sides of downtown buildings, emphasizing local attractions, festivals or natural wonders. If you’re interested in adding a mural, tap those local artists, or get the school to contact the South Dakota Arts Council about bringing a muralist to town.
From flowers in the park to bright new signs to well-kept yards, visitor views and take-away sights do so much to build your community. In addition to attracting businesses and new residents, a great-looking, postcard-perfect town enhances community pride and boosts local morale. And nothing brings neighbors together better than a shared goal of putting out the welcome mat.
Take a look around and share your vision for a postcard image in your town. It’s good for business and good for the community.
By Nick Fosheim, Executive Director, Lincoln & Minnehaha County Economic Development Associations
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