Community First Impressions Revealed For Area Communities


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A Community First Impressions reveal was held in Marysville Monday evening. The program, coordinated through Kansas State Research and Extension pairs volunteer teams of three members each that reverse roles in visiting their partner community and sharing a visitors first impression. Marysville was paired with Lindsborg, and their volunteers were here on two occasions this past summer. Nancy Daniels, Community Vitality Specialist with the extension office explained the programs intent, to draw attention to things which in everyday life may be overlooked by local residents.

Marysville generally earned high marks, with notes that it was an attractive place to call home. Concerns with adequate rental and mid-level housing options were observed. Also drawing comment were the significant number of vacant buildings downtown, with a side note that not as much retail was featured as one might expect. Schools, health care services, churches, and parks drew especially high praise. Of note were the recent improvements at the Jr./Sr. high, the city pool, and library. Additional signage pointing toward attractions was suggested, as was improving the north side of downtown buildings fronting U.S. Highway 36. The visiting team commented on the friendly nature of local residents, and the absolute charm of the city’s brick streets.

Washington recently participated in the program as well, with a public meeting set for Tuesday, November 27th at 6:30 at the FNB basement meeting room to reveal the survey results.

Blue Rapids recently shared first impressions with the community. A significant contrast in housing was noted, with many nice homes, but in the eyes of a visitor many that are unkempt. Quoting, some were very dilapidated, some really nice. The downtown also drew mixed comments, with positive impressions of the round town square, and library improvements. Concerns with a lack of business options, open buildings and vacant space were noted. All shared that the city park is a highlight in Blue Rapids, due to its location, amenities, and everything in one place. One commented that the city park is a gem. Citizen interaction was regarded as friendly and helpful.

Finally, Waterville also took part in the program last year. Noting an obvious community pride, the downtown drew positive reaction, with a note that streetscape could be improved. Housing options were termed adequate, with a variety of options available. Lack of a restaurant was a concern, while improvements to the Weaver Hotel, and the Opera House were mentioned.

Results from those visitor surveys, as well as others completed for Kansas communities thus far are online through K-State Research and Extension.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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