Team Says First Impressions Matter

By: Stephen Bowers Email
By: Stephen Bowers Email

There is a saying that 'you never get a second chance to make a first impression'. Some local small towns are taking that advice to heart.

Among them is Marion, which is taking part in a program designed to figure out what outsiders think and make improvements based on those observations.

The "First Impressions" program is a partnership between the MSU Extension Service and the Mississippi State Community Action Team.

The program sends groups of people to cities and towns across the state to get a first impression of the community. They look at every aspect of the community and then help that community improve through critique.

In April, "First Impressions" came to Marion. It's almost time for Marion to find out what first impression it made.

"We just really want to get the community out and get them involved," said Tammy Taylor, a member of the board of aldermen. "It's kind of got some of us citizens pumped up about Marion, because it is our town."

Some in Marion say they hope that the community will remember to pitch in.

"I think it's just those simple small steps," said Marion resident Angie Denney.
"Instead of taking advantage of that drive every day and not paying attention to your surroundings, let's all get together and volunteer and make a difference."

The other hope is to remember clutter and litter are eyesores that can go away, to give a better first impression of the community.

"I'm anxious to see what their first impressions are. I'm anxious, and I'm going to take their advice and let's go with it," Taylor said.

"From when you get up in the morning and get dressed and you head off to work, you want to make a good first impression every day. Why not make a good first impression in the community that you live in?" said Denney.

"First Impressions" visited the city of Newton just over two years ago, and some big changes have been made.

The team made recommendations and passed along ideas to help the community look better and give a positive first impression.

Newton Chamber of Commerce executive director Angie Burks had advice for the town of Marion.

"Get ready for the truth. It may hurt," said Burks. "It may be a blow to you somewhat. You as community members can do more than you've been doing. You just have to get up off your duff and do it."

Once a community is involved, volunteers from that community go to visit another community to give their own first impressions for other areas.

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