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Community visited Sigourney_ Iowa

VIEWS: 3 PAGES: 31

									      First Impressions:
A Program for Community Assessment
          & Improvement

      Community visited: Cresco, Iowa

      Date of Visit: November 13, 2007

     Visit completed by: Oelwein, Iowa




       Program developed by: Professor Andrew B. Lewis
              Community Development Specialist
         Center for Community Economic Development
               University of Wisconsin Extension




                             1
                             First Impressions:
             A Program for Community Assessment & Improvement
                                Final Report


Community visited: Cresco, Iowa
Visitation Team Profile

Mona Arthur
Age: 63     Gender: Female          Occupation: Retired city clerk

Chad Benter
Age: 32     Gender: Male            Occupation: Jeweler

Andrea Detweiler
Age:         Gender: Female         Occupation:

Kent Nelson
Age:        Gender: Male            Occupation: Bank Vice President

Jeff Niemann
Age:         Gender: Male           Occupation:

Jessica Paige
Age: 29       Gender: Female        Occupation: Consultant

Charlene Stocker
Age:          Gender: Female        Occupation:

Date of visit: November 13, 2007

Time spent: 6 hours

Weather on date of visit: Clear and windy. 45-50 degrees.




                                               2
                                    Past Perceptions

What is your impression of the community before this visit? What did you expect to
see? Please comment on your knowledge of the community.
        Previously a member   of school conference. Slightly smaller than Oelwein. Possibly
         Scandinavian descent.
        Featherlite. Small town with industry. Good at sports.
        Have no expectations.




                                    Prior to your visit

Please rate and comment on the community’s online Web materials and information.
Could you find information on state and regional tourism Web sites about the
community?
Average score: 7.5
Range of scores: 7 to 8

        2006 events were listed.
        Good overall Web site –  community events need to be updated and some of the
         business directory links were either incorrect or “dead”. Web site themes are very
         consistent throughout.
        Town is much prettier than Web site shows.




                                                3
                               Five Minute Impression

After taking a five-minute drive through the community, without stopping, the
following reactions were noted:
      Nice – very clean, attractive, welcoming.
      A lot of industry. Scandinavian heritage. Everything labeled  very well. Wide roads. Clean
       residential areas. Large, historical houses. Recycling pickup available. Business areas
       clean as well. Not a lot of people out and about.
      Good signage. North side – clean neighborhoods. It seems like there is a lot of industry.
       East entrance clean. Schools all in one location.
      Estimated population around 4,000. Good range of housing stock. Good educational
       system. Assuming limited job opportunities due to population and not located on a 4-lane
       highway. I assumed an overall conservative atmosphere, however, entrepreneur spirit
       seemed alive and well after visiting with a few business people.




                                               4
                                 Community Entrances


The following observations were noted when entering the community from major
entrances:

Hwy. 9 East
Average score: 7.5
Range of scores: 7 to 8
       Clean.
       2x signage. First one (E) minimal impact. Second (newer) location?
       Nice four-lane. Nice bike trail.
       Industry right away. Clean. Nice.

Hwy. 9 West
Average score: 6.3
Range of scores: 4 to 8
       Cresco school stadium – easy to see - nice.
       Could not find…?
       Business prevalent.
       Industrial – gives feeling of a busy community.

V58 Protivin Rd. South
Average score: 5.8
Range of scores: 3 to 7
       Good sign, road construction, many houses for sale.
       Residential area. Fairly large mobile home park.
       Signage? Trailer park? Unsightly purple house!! Yikes!
       The purple house when you‟re approaching from the south is an interesting landmark.
        Not a great first impression.
       Clean – great welcome signage. Road construction – used a small detour.

V58 North
Range of scores: 8
       Hospital easy to find.

Granger Road North
Range of scores: 9
       Very nice residential.

Other entrances (airports, bike trails, boat landings, train stations, snowmobile trails, etc.)
       Bike trail good addition to town. Well kept. Easy access to town. Signage great.
       Bike trails are nice – partly paved – fundraising underway to pave rest. Airport seemed
        suitable.
       Bike trail partially paved (beside highway).
       Bike trail is showing much potential.



                                               5
                            Housing & Residential Areas

How would you rate the overall quality, affordability and availability of housing?
Average score: 8.0
Range of scores: 7 to 9

Quality
Average ratings for:
          8.7 - Vacant lots for new homes                    8.0 - Housing for seniors
          8.3 - New homes                                    5.5 - Apartments/rental housing
          8.0 - Existing/Older Homes

    Assisted living and big, old, beautiful houses, some apartments.
    Clean neighborhoods.
    Many well-maintained older homes. Maintenance code? Some need.


Affordability
Is there an adequate mix of housing to suit a variety of income levels?
    Shortage of moderate income housing?
    Seems so. Lots of homes for sale.
    Yes. All sizes and costs/quality.
    A good amount of all price ranges.


Availability
Average ratings for:
          9.3 - Existing/Older Homes                  8.3 - New homes
          9.0 - Housing for seniors                   6.0 - Apartments/rental housing
          9.0 - Vacant lots for new homes

    A lot of larger homes for sale. I don‟t know   how many new homes were for sale.
    There were “for sale” signs in most areas.

   What are the most and least appealing features of the housing in this
   community
            Most  appealing: historic preservation. Least appeal: maintenance.
            Most  landscaping was done nicely. Saw one yard with too much stuff. “Purple”
             house by bowling alley.
            The large homes are nice. There aren‟t many “least appealing” features to speak
             of – a purple house, one with several cars, misc. on lawn – but those were the
             exception and not the rule.




                                                6
   Comment on the quality and availability of residential infrastructure (i.e. roads,
   sidewalks, lighting, public transportation, bike trails/lanes, green space, trees,
   yards):
               Roads  were wide, well-kept. Curbs okay. Residential: one-half sidewalk, other
                half no sidewalk.
               All of the above are great and very well labeled. I LOVED the labeled additions
                – it was a very nice touch! A lot of neighborhoods had no sidewalk.
               Roads good, nice lights, most areas had sidewalks, new bike trail.
               Curb and gutters? Light posts. Need more community recreation green space:
                housing on park sides.

Appeal
Average ratings for:
          8.0 – Upscale/professional                  6.3 – Senior citizen
          7.5 – Middle income                         5.3 – Single young adults
          7.3 – Young families

 Did not observe that many visible postings!
 Good variety of houses.
 Nice new neighborhoods. Homes are larger,     so maybe not for young, single adults as much.
 Professionals would like the newer areas.
 Plenty of
          housing and space for new housing, but nothing compelling about the locations of
 new development.




                                                  7
               Education, Health, Social & Emergency Services

Education
Comment on the availability and appearance of schools.
   Pre-school/Kindergarten/Head Start:
        A little hard to find.
        I didn‟t notice at first – went into elementary/junior high and was told where it was. A
         little set back from other buildings.
        Elementary and junior high in one location. Good appearance.

   Primary/Elementary/Middle School:
       New, clean, modern.
       Very nice, well-labeled. Traffic flow is nice.

   High School:
       Very nice.
       Big, sprawling, nice facilities, great parking lots.
       Adjacent to elementary. Neat and clean.

   College/University:
       NICC has good facility as well – excellent parking.
       NICC building on Highway 9.

What do residents think about the quality and availability of their local schools?
        Waitress said it worked for her.
        Said they were good (young resident).

Overall, how would you rate the adequacy of schools for a community of this size?
Average score: 7.5
Range of scores: 7 to 8

        Schools   seem adequate for the size of the community.

Health Care Services
Comment on the availability and apparent quality of healthcare facilities.
   Hospitals:
       Medical center.
       Appears new, very professional and well-kept.

   Physician, dentist, optometrist and other medical offices and clinics:
       Saw chiro and optometrist offices.



                                                 8
         Entire clinic   complex is great – optometrist, chiro offices.

   Long-term care, assisted living and nursing home facilities:
       Assisted living and nursing home.
       Beautiful assisted living; nursing homes all appear clean and friendly.

   Other health services (i.e. Chiropractic, psychotherapy, naturopath, massage, etc.):
       Massage, chiro offices are well-labeled and nicely located.

Overall, how would you rate the adequacy of health care services for a community of
this size?
Average score: 7.0
Range of scores: 6 to 8

         Seem   to be appropriate for size of Cresco.

Social Services
What social services (i.e. day care, senior center, counseling, etc.) are available?
         Not sure.
         Unknown.


Civic
Are there a variety of not-for-profit organizations and clubs within the community?
   ?
    Did   not see any.

Emergency Services
Overall, how would you rate the police, fire, ambulance and emergency medical service
facilities?
Range of scores: 7 to 7

How do local residents feel about these services?
         Appear to have decent facilities.
         Saw medical center but did not visit    it.




                                                        9
                                     Local Economy

What is your impression of the health of the local economy?
        Seems  to be industry-oriented and not as much retail, although downtown specialty
         shops are present.
        Active, good variety with solid business. Banks seem healthy.

Downtown
Could you locate the downtown easily? If not, why did you have difficulty finding it?
        Very visible attributes.
        Yes – signage was great.
        Yes, very easy and well-labeled.
        Downtown was easy to find.
        The fact that Hwy 9 passes to the south of downtown is a common issue in small towns,
         but the open green space that allows a nice view of the downtown area helps a lot. It‟s
         more inviting. The area along the highway and the downtown are dominated by two
         large bank buildings. While the buildings are nice, they tend to dwarf their
         surroundings.

Rate and comment on the overall appearance of the downtown (buildings, displays,
signage, streetscape).
Average score: 6.3
Range of scores: 5 to 7

        Everything  was nice – buildings weren‟t dilapidated, signs were everywhere (great!),
         window displays were present.
        Building structures look great. Sidewalk nice.
        Needs work! Inconsistent in appearance. Façade improvement needed. Good lighting,
         well-marked walkway. Tons of potential! Downtown ordinance.
        The downtown seems to have a lower than average number of empty storefronts, but the
         facades were not very appealing. The downtown is frankly a lot uglier than most,
         especially the area around the courthouse.

Rate and comment on the variety of shopping in the downtown.
Average score: 5.3
Range of scores: 3 to 8

        Good variety!! Needs an “upscale” restaurant.
        Not much variety, no youthful shopping.
        Several beauty shops, one clothing store, dollar store.
        Not so much variety – a lot of duplication with photo/frame   shops, bakeries, etc.



                                               10
Rate and comment on the customer service you received in the downtown.
Average score: 7.3
Range of scores: 5 to 9

        Very friendly and helpful (2 team members said this).
        Okay. Restaurant has a very dirty floor.
        Customer service wasn‟t terrible, but wasn‟t excellent.   Individuals were nice and
         efficient and did a good job.

Rate and comment on the signage in the downtown.
Average score: 8.3
Range of scores: 4 to 10

        Good signage.
                          Cresco‟s signage enough – it was fantastic! Advertising for Christmas
        I can‟t talk about
         open house on street – a good idea! I always knew where things were and how to get
         there. Good job!
        Very inconsistent: needs cohesion. No street level/pedestrian signage on businesses.

Rate and comment on the window displays in the downtown.
Average score: 5.7
Range of scores: 4 to 7

        Half and half. Some very good, some non-existent, some unappealing.
        Didn‟t really see a lot of window space.
        Camera store window was poor. Most windows were good.
        Most participated.

Rate and comment on the variety and quality of merchandise in the downtown.
Average score: 5.0
Range of scores: 3 to 6

        A lot of repetition (photography, crafts,   etc.).
        Not much retail.
        Quilting, jewelry, clothes – no variety.

Comment on the mix of facilities and services in the downtown (housing, professional
services, retail, recreation, accommodation and food, industry, parks, etc.).
        Retail,services, food, no accommodations. Courthouse inside: very disappointed, old
         architecture would be nice to see.
        An old courthouse is always a nice feature, but the interior is hideous. I was very
         disappointed when I walked in and all I saw was a sheetrock hallway and a hodge-
         podge of wall coverings. Other county courthouses are much nicer and have a historical
         appearance inside and out.




                                                11
        There were  apartments downtown. Also insurance, motel, several restaurants. We have
         more and better food service in Oelwein.
        There is a mix, but it‟s almost disorienting, as a lot of buildings run together at times.
         Things do fit together well: retail, food, industry, etc.

Rate and comment on the quality and availability of parking in the downtown.
Average score: 5.5
Range of scores: 4 to 7

        Municipal   parking? If so, not marked. Street parking was minimal, but there weren‟t a
         lot of cars out.
        Parking was available on streets.
        Limited street parking.
        Didn‟t really see a sign for free municipal parking.

Rate and comment on the quality (appearance, adequacy, etc.) of lighting in the
downtown.
Average score: 6.8
Range of scores: 5 to 8

        Nice lighting.
        Nice new lighting.
        Street lights looked nice.
        Seemed okay – here during day,   so didn‟t see lights on.

Does the downtown play a role in tourism? Is there potential for the downtown to play
a greater role?
       A   small role – nice windows, not a lot of empty buildings, etc. Yes, could play a greater
         role by revamping some buildings, adding planters.
        Wrestling Hall of Fame.
        Only the bike trail and Wrestling Hall of Fame. Potential for downtown exp: needs
         work.
        I don‟t believe the downtown has a role. They could be a better job – with adding more
         businesses.

Describe the residential housing mix in the downtown (apartment, single detached).
        The ones that were noticeable were not   appealing.
        Upstairs housing.
        Apartments, from what I could tell.

Would you find the downtown a desirable place to live?
        Yes.
        No, lack of “quality of life”, i.e. restaurants, coffee shops, book stores, etc.
        No, not much to draw people there.
        No, doesn‟t seem to be nightlife or a lot of day-to-day necessary items/shops.



                                                12
Were there any government or nonprofit organization activities that are serving as
traffic generators for the downtown (city hall, post office, YMCA)?
       Yes, post office, city hall.
       City hall was a few blocks away, as was the post office.
       Wrestling Hall of Fame, others are limiting.Bible Training Center: “Hope for the
        Desperate” does not lead to a thriving impression!!!
       No.



General Information about Overall Retail
Describe the mix of retail shopping available (malls, specialty shops, strip malls, big
box stores).
       I can‟t believe there isn‟t one larger store in town.
       Dollar Store, A&W, no franchises.
       The downtown area had a mix of stores and services      and there was also shopping along
        Hwy. 9.
       Mainly specialty shops.

What retail goods do local residents appear to need to travel to surrounding
communities for?
       Shoes, books, CD‟s, “Kmart” items.
       Larger women‟s sizes, children‟s clothing, shoes, linens.
       Non-food merchandise, home décor/improvement.
       Everything.

What stores or services were missing that you would expect to find?
       At least one big box store. Shoe store.
       Sporting goods. Building supplies: found Spahn and Rose!! Office supply.
       McDonald‟s, Kmart/Wal-Mart, other franchises absent – a surprise for this     size of town.

What retail stores or services did you find that were unusual or unexpected for a town
of this size?
       None.
       Bike shop,   A&W/Long John Silvers, Radio Shack, indoor pool!!

What store(s) in this community would you travel a distance of more than 30 miles to
patronize?
       Bakery.
       Indoor pool, Teluwat, specialty shops: bike shop.
       If I quilted, maybe the Pine Needles shop.
       None.
       The bike shop was intriguing and may have brought       me back to town just to shop there,
        but it was closed the entire time I was there.



                                                13
Rate and comment on the overall condition of the retail sector.
Average score: 5.5
Range of scores: 4 to 7

        Needs physical upgrades, businesses seen healthy.
        At first glance, seems large and varied. At street level,  there are duplications; however,
         it‟s nice to have specialty shops, etc. lined up in a straight configuration.
        Nice, clean for a town this size, lacks a major retailer.



Other Retail Shopping Areas
Rate and comment on the customer service of businesses you visited.
Range of scores: 9 to 9

        Teluwat:    great customer service!

Rate and comment on the variety and quality of merchandise.
Range of scores: 9 to 9

        Excellent    menu/great variety: something different, but not “out there”.


Local Industries
Consider industries only within or adjacent to the community. What are the major
industrial sectors in the community (i.e. manufacturing, construction, transportation)?
        Manufacturing (2 team members said this).
        Trailer manufacturing, air cleaner manufacturing,    pallet manufacturing, food service.

Who do you think are the major employers in the community?
        Featherlite,   Donaldson‟s (2 team members said this).
        Featherlite,   Donaldson‟s, Alum Line.
        Featherlite,   Donaldson‟s, school, hospital.

What are the major types of manufacturing in the community?
        Trailers,   filters.
        Trailers.
        Trailers,   air cleaners, pallets.

What are the major types of primary industry in the community (i.e. agriculture,
mining, forestry or fishing)?
        Agriculture.
        Manufacturing.
        Two coops.


                                                  14
Is the community noticeably dependent on any one type of industry?
       Trailers.
       No.
       Not really,   but heaving on the manufacturing.

Is there a well-defined industrial park or improved land where industries could locate
or expand?
       Yes – west on Hwy. 9, north on ?, nice signs with business   names.
       Excellent job labeling industrial park sign! Great!
       Yes, a great sign with phone number. A+.
       Yes, multiple.

Are the industrial facilities well-maintained?
       It seems so.
       Yes.
       Yes and well-marked.

Would this community be an attractive location for industrial development? Why or
why not?
       Yes – looks well-maintained, well-marked.
       Yes, it seems to land good jobs.
       For small-mid-sized company. Workforce base?



Commercial Services
What types of commercial businesses serve the local community (high-speed Internet
provider, print shops, etc.)?
       Print, Internet, professional services.
       I didn‟t see any.
       Computer store, print shop, cellular/electronics.
       Insurance, banks, realtors.

What commercial services appear to be missing in the community?
       No office supply, mechanical support, welder‟s      shop.
       Not sure – add one-hour photo to pharmacy?
       Office supply store.

Professional Services
Are banks and ATMs conveniently located? Do the banks have convenient hours of
service?
       A couple large banks.
       Yes (2 team members said this).
       Beautiful banks taking up prime real   estate.


                                                15
How would you rate the adequacy of financial services for a community of this size?
Average score: 8.0
Range of scores: 6 to 9

        We didn‟t talk to bankers.
        Two banks with huge physical       presence.

What other professional services are available (accounting, insurance, legal, etc.)? Are
there any apparent gaps?
        Unknown.
        Realtors (a lot).
        Legal, CPA, insurance,   invest.


Tourism
Does the community have a strong tourism sector? Please comment.
        No…although they do have a strong recreation campaign.
        No, there is no draw to Cresco.
        Middle-ground.
        Iowa wrestling museum was part of Chamber building, they advertise     Nobel Prize and
         Admirals on sign.

Does the community have a slogan/brand?
        Iowa‟s Year „Round Playground        and Where There‟s Hope for the Desperate.
        Not that I could tell.
        Year Round Playground.
        Unknown.

Is the community well-known for an attraction or event?
        Howard   County fair, Wrestling Hall of Fame, bike trails. Although we were not aware
         of these before arriving.
        Industry.
        Wrestling Hall of Fame.
        Norman Borlaug – Nobel Prize winner.

What have you seen that could be developed into a tourist attraction (natural or man-
made)?
        Golf course, archeology!!
        Something with Scandinavian        heritage.
        Unknown.

Rate and comment on the quality and appearance of existing tourist attractions.
Average score: 4.0
Range of scores: 3 to 5


                                                    16
        Could expand on wrestling museum.
        The train in the middle of town was nice.
        Good campaign on bike trail.

Do you consider any of the attractions underdeveloped?
        Golf course needs   better push.

Are there any community events that could be expanded/developed to be a tourist
attraction?
        Unknown.
        Bike race, triathlon?

Comment on the availability and selection of overnight accommodations in the
community (hotels, motels, campgrounds, B&B’s).
        Motel was on Hwy. 9.
        Only saw one motel.
        Saw Super 8. Cresco Hotel    not overly inviting. Better B&B signage needed.

Are there facilities to accommodate a conference and/or a large number of visitors?
        Not really: VFW? golf course? religious center?.
        Not sure, but I didn‟t notice any – maybe at Super   8?
        Unknown.

Is there a Visitor’s Center, Chamber of Commerce office, or other facility serving the
needs of tourists? Comment on staff, facilities, signage, marketing material, maps, etc.
        Yes, Chamber of Commerce very helpful.
        When I called to get information, the Chamber was prompt and courteous.
        Yes, friendly staff, good material. Maybe have all businesses display Chamber
         information.
        Yes, Highway 9.

Rate and comment on the customer service of Chamber/Visitor staff:
Average score: 9.0
Range of scores: 8 to 10

Rate and comment on the quality of restaurants:
Average score: 5.8
Range of scores: 4 to 9

        Teluwat‟s very cool!
        One of the biggest downfalls   was lack of quality restaurants. No fine dining. One of the
         best ways to get people to town is with good places to eat.
        For the size of town, there aren‟t enough restaurants here and not a lot of variety. Where
         is a big franchise restaurant (McDonald‟s, etc.)? Is there an elegant dining option?


                                                17
        Long John   Silvers, Pizza Hut, Subway, Suzy Cue. The kitchen floor at Mabe‟s was very
         dirty.
        Country club   looks nice and has a nice setting, but is quite remote and hard to find.

Variety/Mix of restaurants:
Average score: 4.3
Range of scores: 3 to 5

        Mexican was closed, no major fast food.
        I saw the Long John Silvers/A&W and Subway but        am surprised to not see
         McDonald‟s, etc.
        A couple of small diners, a bakery, Chinese, but no place for a businessperson to have a
         nice steak dinner.
        There does not seem to be a place to have a nice formal or even semi-formal sit-down
         dinner, or a decent place for an after work cocktail. The CC was mentioned, but it‟s too
         remote and sometimes country clubs seem uninviting to non-members or locals.

What do local residents recommend on where to stay, eat and visit?
        A clerk recommended Suzy Cue       for lunch.
        Chinese, Teluwat‟s, Super 8.
        They told me to go to Decorah.

What local restaurant, specialty shop or attraction would bring you back to this
community in the near future?
        None.
        Teluwat‟s, furniture, any of the specialty shops: artists, floral, antiques, etc.
        Loved Teluwat! I plan to return to Cresco just to dine there. Other than this restaurant,   I
         saw nothing in the form of entertainment or dining that would bring me back.




                                                 18
                             Local Government Information


Are municipal offices conveniently located?
       Took us awhile to find.
       Yes, city hall well-marked.
       Yes, excellent locations.
       Yes, close to the courthouse.

How would you rate the availability and quality of the following information provided
by the municipal government?

   Community brochure/guide:
   Average score: 7.8
   Range of scores: 7 to 9

        Nice info.

   Business directory:
   Average score: 8.5
   Range of scores: 8 to 9

        Laid   out good.

   Community profile (includes business and industrial sites):
   Range of scores: 8 to 8

If applicable, were you able to find adequate information to make informed retail,
commercial and/or industrial business investment decisions?
        Yes,   we met with a commercial lender. Very helpful re: money and community info.

How would you rate the helpfulness of government employees?
Average score: 8.0
Range of scores: 8 to 8

        Good,   knowledgeable.


Public Infrastructure
Comment on and rate each of the following for quality, accessibility or availability.

   Sidewalks:



                                               19
Average score: 8.3
Range of scores: 8 to 9

    Most areas had sidewalks in good condition.
    In excellent condition, newer‟s wide. Absent     in some residential areas.
    In good repair and clean.
    Were limited throughout town.

Streets:
Average score: 8.7
Range of scores: 7 to 10

    Well-maintained – very impressive.
    In pretty good repair, under construction.
    Clean, wide, just great!
    Good condition.

Landscaping, street trees:
Average score: 8.3
Range of scores: 7 to 10

    Very good.
    Could use a bit more, although it was late   fall.
    Nice, big trees. Parks were well-kept.
    Nice mix.

Public restrooms:
Average score: 8.5
Range of scores: 8 to 9

    At courthouse.
    Did not see any marked “public restrooms”.
    Didn‟t see where they were.

Street signage:
Average score: 9.0
Range of scores: 7 to 10

    A+.
    Very good.
    No way – finding signage!   But municipal signage is good.
    Well mapped out.

Pay phones, drinking fountains, benches, public Internet access points, other misc.:
Average score: 7.8
Range of scores: 6 to 9



                                            20
       Very nice.
       Saw trash receptacles and benches.
       Benches were present. Does the library have wireless?
       Benches were located correct.



Planning
Do you see conflicting land uses in the community (i.e. a residential subdivision next to
a pulp mill)?
       Plant nursery engulfed by school.
       No.
       I didn‟t see any major conflicts.

Are all land uses appropriate (commercial, residential, green space, etc.)?
       Seems to be, although a little “sprawly” between Elm and Hwy. 9.
       Seem to be – the campers for sale seemed out of place in town – use   to seeing them on
        outskirts.

Did you experience traffic congestion anywhere?
       Just road construction.
       No (2 team members said   this).

Are community facilities and infrastructure generally accessible for people with
disabilities?
       Seem to be.
       Appears so.

Does the community appear to be pedestrian/bike friendly?
       Yes.
       Yes, very!
       New bike trail.
       Pedestrian-friendly.
       The bike trail looked like it might develop into something that will be well utilized and
        bring people to the area.




                                               21
                          Recreation, Faith, Culture and Heritage

Recreation
Rate and comment on the availability and appearance of each of the following types of
recreational facilities.

   Parks:
   Average score: 7.0
   Range of scores: 6 to 8

        A town of Cresco‟s size could have even more parks        – existing parks are nice.
        Saw four parks – well-kept.
        Like the residential backing onto green space.

   Public recreation facilities:
   Average score: 8.3
   Range of scores: 8 to 9

        Nice wellness center with indoor pool.
        Great rel. facility! Seems very proactive and a community hub.
        Loved the rec center. It seemed to really be a hub of community activity.

   Private recreation facilities:
   Range of scores: 7 to 7

        Did   not see.

Based on your impression, what do people appear to do for recreation/fun?
        Bike, swim, school activities, bowl.
        Saw walkers, wellness members, golfers.
        Bike trails, ice rink, indoor pool and rec. center,   outdoor track at school.

What recreational facility (private or public) in this community surprised you?
        Community rel.     center, pool.
        Ice rink (fun!).
        Ice rink.

What recreational activities or facilities seemed to be missing?
        Cross-country ski,   racquetball, walking tour of architecture: homes, downtown, church.
        Not sure.




                                                 22
Rate the overall suitability of the recreational facilities for each of the following
populations using a 1-10 scale (10 is best):

       8.3 – Singles, young adults                            7.7 – Teens
       8.0 – Children (12 and under)                          6.3 – Senior citizens
       7.7 – Families


Entertainment
What does the community do for entertainment?
        Theater and movie store.
        Movie, dinner out, some art   and culture.

What entertainment opportunities do residents feel they lack?
        One resident   said she (and friends) went to Decorah for fun as there wasn‟t a lot to do in
        Cresco.

Does the community have a vibrant nightlife?
        Doesn‟t   seem to have a vibrant nightlife.


Faith/Religion
Comment on the number, appearance and selection of denominations.
        Many denominations present.
        Large number of churches.
        A lot for a small town.

Are there any outstanding architectural or design features found on the religious
buildings you visited?
        Beautiful old churches.
        Did not stand out.
        Churches were striking –   features, etc.

Please rate the religious buildings and denominations represented in this community.
Average score: 8.3
Range of scores: 7 to 10

        Numerous: especially for   a smaller community.
        Great variety.




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Culture and Heritage
Does the community hold any events (festivals)? Which events are held annually?
       Not that we‟re aware of.
       Santa parade was advertised.

What events are popular with residents?
       Recreational.

Do the residents feel there is a lack of community events?
       One resident    said they prefer to go to surrounding communities for events.

Does the community have historical buildings or places? Are they well-maintained?
       Residential: there are many noticeably well-maintained historic homes. Downtown: so
        much potential! Local ordinance needed! Beautiful architecture covered up by tin/metal
        siding, boarded-up windows, etc.
       Unknown.




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                                General Observations

Role Playing
Would you consider this community as a suitable location for a young family?
       Maybe. Many activities/features for children, but not as   many for parents.
       Yes, clean neighborhoods.
       Sure, nice school system, good local rec. facilities.
       No, not geared for youth, would have to go to Decorah.
       Yes, good school system; safe neighborhoods.

Would you consider locating your retail or service business here?
       Maybe – if unique and not related to existing businesses in Cresco.
       Probably not, did not see people (shoppers) in downtown area.
       Not sure. Downtown has potential, but in its present state, not appealing enough   to be
        financial feasible.
       No, sounds like everyone goes to other communities.
       Yes, spirited business environment; long commute to nearest large community.

Would you consider locating a manufacturing business here?
       Yes, it would be among many other successful manufacturing businesses that give
        Cresco a good name.
       Maybe, don‟t know what labor availability is.
       Maybe. Obviously there‟s skilled workforce, but enough laborers to go around?
       Maybe not, they would compete with other manufacturers.
       Maybe, depends how important transportation factor is.

Would you consider this a suitable location for a retired person?
       Yes.
       Sure. The town is easy to maneuver through with all of the basic   amenities!
       Maybe, it appears clean and quiet. Nice rec. center.
       Maybe, are there retiree groups, committees, etc.?
       Yes, safe neighborhoods; community has services they need.

Would you consider this a suitable location for a young adult?
       No,  nothing to do.
       No,  not enough going on for a young, single adult. Lack of quality housing for single
        person. No quality night life/entertainment, questionable shopping. It would be a job
        that would bring to Cresco, not choice.
       Maybe not – missing activities?
       No, not a lot of entertainment options.
       Yes, especially if they have children.




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Would you consider visiting this community as a tourist?
       No, nothing to look at and no where to eat!
       Yes, if I were into bike trails.
       No, no drawing card.
       Maybe.
       Yes, if I was traveling through; probably not   go out of my way to visit.




                                              26
                     Information from Community Residents

Were community residents knowledgeable about their community?
        Yes (2 team members     said this).
        Somewhat.
        Seemed to be.

Did they refer you to someone else who would help?
        No.
        Yes.
        No, she answered   all questions.

In general, did residents you spoke with have a positive or negative attitude toward
their community? Why? Did you sense community pride?
        Negative (maybe because younger?).
        So-so. Waitress was honest, not negative.
        Positive. Most of the people we spoke withwere in the business sector, so they
         presented themselves in a professional manner.
        Negative.

Did residents identify a particular issue to be of major concern?
        No (2 team members said this).
        Quality of hospitals, lack of shopping,     lack of entertainment.

Overall, how would you rate the quality of information from community residents and
business employees?
Average score: 8.7
Range of scores: 3 to 9

        Did not ask – didn‟t   see any residents.
        Good opinions.




                                                     27
                                        Using Your Senses


What did the community taste like? Was there any specialty food item, bakery,
restaurant or candy store that you will remember?
        Good chai tea.
        Smelled manure around Suzy Cue‟s – possibly farm-related.
        Teluwat‟s American Grille.
        The sports bar we visited was very nice.

What did the community smell like? Was there any offensive industrial, agricultural or
sewage smells? What about pleasant odors?
        Food smells occasionally. A lot of farm smells.
        Farm odor.
        No.
        Because of the time of year, it smelled like manure.

What sounds did you hear? Please comment on the level of noise in the community
(traffic, industrial, birds, water falls, music on the street, trains, noon whistle, etc.).
        Some traffic. Quiet overall.
        Did not notice until emergency vehicles   were summoned.
        Just normal traffic. Some construction.
        Quiet.

How would you describe the overall environmental health of the community (air
quality, litter, noise pollution, etc.)?
        Clean overall.
        Average – clean   of litter.
        Quiet, clean.
        Great.

Did you experience anything that had a strongly negative or positive impact on the way
the community felt to you (hateful or angry responses, crowded or deserted streets,
safety issues, smiling faces, etc.)?
        Streets were pretty quiet, but there were smiles.
        Pleasant and clean.
        The “Hope for the Desperate” house not good! The ag property on west side of school.
        The community has a decent, vital feel to it. Above average compared to other similar
        towns I have visited.

Do you think your impression would be different if your visit occurred in the evening?
        Yes.
        Not sure.


                                               28
 Possibly.
 No.




              29
                                          Wrap-Up

Was your perception prior to the visit accurate? In what ways was the community
different from what you expected?
       I thought it was going to have a vibrant downtown    area.
       No, there was more there than I expected.
       It was cleaner and nicer than I envisioned.
       Yes. Even more industry. Bigger than I expected.
       I expected a more conservative spirit.

Did the information you collected prior to the visit accurately reflect what you
observed/experienced?
       No, the papers made it look like it   was booming.
       Somewhat.
       Yes (2 team members said this).
       For the most part, yes.

What is the most outstanding feature of this community?
       Industry.
       Rec. facility,industrial parks, abundance of housing, potential in downtown, golf
        course.
       Cleanliness.
       Industries, housing.
       Friendly people we visited with; good school system; wide variety of services available.

List five positive things you observed about this community.
       Housing –  availability/quality; well-labeled and laid-out downtown; variety of
        churches; school system; recreation – bike trails.
       Clean; quiet; ice rink; wellness center/indoor pool; school all central location.
       Clean; ease of town layout; industrial park; residential areas were great; indoor ice rink

What are three potential opportunities available to the community?
       Unique retail opportunities; elegant dining establishment;   Kmart/Wal-Mart.
       Wrestling museum; Scandinavian heritage.
       Fine dining; general discount store; shoe store.

What are the five biggest obstacles/challenges facing this community?
       More commercial; more retail; keeping stores they have.
       Location; the “pull” towards Decorah; downtown rehabilitation.
       No choices for dining; lack of vibrant downtown; no big box stores;   everyone seems to
        go to Decorah.




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What will you remember most about this community six months from now?
       The large number of industries.
       Cleanliness.
       Wide clean streets.
       Teluwat‟s; downtown architecture;   golf course.

What have you learned here that has changed your impression of your own
community?
       Even medium to large communities can be clean, organized and well-labeled.
       We all have similar challenges. Our neighborhoods are very poor in some areas.
       The importance of downtown ordinance; the importance of good housing opportunities;
       we are short of shopping variety.

Has this experience given you any new ideas about what is needed in your own
community?
       Yes, more signs.
       No.
       Absolutely.

Describe one idea that you will borrow for use in your own business/community and
describe how you will start to implement it within the next 72 hours!
       Labeling additions.
       Hazardous waste collections? New map?
       Phone number on industrial park sign. Statues throughout town.
       The chamber and/or visitors center had local business displays set   up with information.




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