UW-Extension’s award winning Community Vitality and Placemaking Team recently released their 2017 Annual Report.

Has your small town found a creative use for a vacant building?

WEDC and UWEX are seeking your examples. WEDC  and UW-Extension, are working together to identify creative uses for vacant downtown buildings in small towns. The purpose of this project is to provide Wisconsin’s small communities with research and case studies highlighting different ways to meaningfully occupy vacant properties. They are looking for examples that showcase […]

Placemaking 101 & Millennials

A PowerPoint presentation for the Sauk County Intergovernmental Group, October 29, 2015, by Greg Wise and Kristin Runge.

Downtown Storefront Improvements: Analyzing Return on Investment

A team from University of Wisconsin-Extension and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation examined 24 case studies of storefront improvement projects in Wisconsin over the past 15 years.  These case studies ranged from rural Wisconsin to urban metropolitan areas.  The types of capital improvements were just as vast, ranging from less than $2000 to well over $300,000. […]

21 Years of First Impressions

Check out this recent webinar with information about how the First Impression program has been evaluated and adapted around the country.  The presentation features CCED’s Professor Andy Lewis, Myra Moss (Ohio State University), and K. Nix (West Virginia University)   Recorded Presentation            PowerPoint

About the First Impressions Program

All too often people and organizations say that they want to improve. But they go about it the wrong way. Too much self-evaluation and too little outside evaluation may mask real problems and opportunities. First Impressions offers an inexpensive way of determining what visitors think of your community. Volunteers from two somewhat similar communities agree to do unannounced exchange visits, becoming “secret shoppers” for the day to discover what they can about their sister city. Team members follow procedures and reporting guidelines in a fully developed manual, which is copied for each participant. The manual helps insure that the evaluations and final reports are thorough and somewhat uniform and minimize the training of volunteers. The final report provides an outsiders perspective of your community as it might be perceived by a prospective business, potential resident, or tourist.

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