• By Don Vizi and Ken Kerkhoff

Guest Opinion - First impressions

Have you ever wondered what people think about our community?

The First Impressions program was designed to help communities learn about their strengths and shortcomings through the eyes of first-time visitors. First Impressions is a structured community assessment that offers a fresh perspective on the appearance, services and infrastructure of each community. Volunteer teams undertake unannounced visits, record their observations, and give constructive feedback.

The Woodford County Tourism Commission and Versailles City Council commissioned this assessment to be completed for Woodford County. A First Impression community meeting will be held on April 9, 2018 at 6 p.m. at Kentucky Community and Technical College System headquarters.

The program is offered through the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky (CEDIK) and coordinates anonymous visits to the community by professionals in community and economic development, small business owners, community leaders and others. Visitors document their experiences and interactions, and the results are compiled and presented to the community.

Reports from the program are often used as part of a broader community assessment or planning processes to inform community policy and action.

The process starts with research via the internet on restaurants, hotels, schools and newspaper outlets. The next step is to do a “quick pass” -- just driving through the community without stopping in order to create an instinctual impression. After the quick pass, assessors come back to the community and do a detailed exploration of web sites, education, residential, health care, arts and culture, civic engagement, public infrastructure, downtowns, recreation, tourism, restaurants and lodgings.

The results have been completed and presented to the Tourism Commission, mayors, and county judge. It is important that this study be available to all residents and businesses in Woodford County to help everyone understand how visitors see our community. The study described the assets we have, the challenges we face, the opportunities we have, and offers specific recommendations. It is important for government officials, businesses, and local citizens to attend this presentation and review the recommendations.

For a video presentation on the First Impressions process, go to: https://youtube/zwpxxZWX_ko.

For more information, contact Don Vizi at the Woodford County Chamber of Commerce at 873-5122 or by email at woodforddirector@gmail.com.

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