Courtesy of Beth Schreiber Photography

Marketing Hometown America comes to Neligh

Wednesday, October 9 at 5:30 p.m. is a special community event at the Neligh Public Library.  It is the kick-off of community conversations in Neligh in which all participants are encouraged to get involved.

People move to Neligh and people leave – why?  Is it just about the job opportunities or are there other reasons?  Are there things Neligh can do to help recruit new residents?  Once they are here, what might help them stay?

These questions and others will be addressed in a program, Marketing Hometown America, which will be offered in October and November in Neligh.  Co-sponsors of the program are Neligh Economic Development and University of Nebraska –Lincoln Extension.

Neligh was chosen as one of two communities in the state to participate in the effort that is funded by the University of Nebraska Rural Futures Institute and developed and delivered by UNL Extension.  Rural communities in South Dakota and North Dakota are also a part of the program.

People who participate in the program will:

  • Learn what new residents are looking for as they relocate to a rural community;
  • Discover often overlooked local assets that attract potential new residents;
  • Understand the importance of local family and friend referrals and the positive image that can be projected through a community web site and social media;
  • Learn and practice the skills of positive community dialogue to increase involvement and confidence in their ability to market their community;
  • Build and implement a marketing action plan that incorporates realistic and achievable actions to successfully market their community; and
  • Increase the community’s human capacity and confidence in using the dialogue approach to address future community issues.

The program includes the community kick-off on October 9 followed by small conversation groups in the city.  These groups will be led by locally trained facilitators.  Each participant will be given a community guide that provides background information, lists of discussion questions and activities.

Each small group will hold a series of four meetings where they will draft a marketing plan and identify activities that they could do in the community to help make themselves more marketable.  An open community forum will be held on November 27 where everyone will vote on their favorite pieces of the proposed plans and activities, as well as volunteer to help or to lead one of the future actions.

“It helps a community with decisions on how to market themselves to potential new residents.  When new residents find a good community “match”, they stay and everyone benefits – the new residents, the current citizens and the community as a whole,” states Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel, UNL Extension Community Development specialist.

If you are interested in participating in a study circle, please contact Greg @ 402-887-4447 or by email: Greg@Neligh.org