Vision Marshalltown releases areas of focus

Will invite public to help get results

Leger, Kyley copy

“These were the four areas that we felt everyone could help accomplish.”

Vision Marshalltown Executive Director Kyley Leger said the organization has put together a list of focus areas aiming to increase pride in Marshalltown.

Those areas include increasing community aesthetics of physical beauty, promoting and encouraging social offerings, supporting and helping build “Bobcat Pride” and enhancing the town’s reputation as a welcoming community.

“We got together to discuss the definition of what community pride is, and try to figure out what our end goal was,” Leger said of brainstorming items for the list. “We found some research done by the Knight Foundation, and they have some material about community pride.”

That study, which was conducted by Gallup Inc. over a three-year period, found 10 domains that are linked to community pride. Of those 10 items, four were chosen for the Vision Marshalltown list.

“We basically looked at that list of things they had identified as things that drive community pride, and we thought about what Marshalltown needed to focus on,” Leger said. “That’s how we narrowed it down.”

For the focus on social offerings, she said Marshalltown has plenty of opportunities.

“We know that we have a lot of social offerings,” Leger said. “We weren’t necessarily looking at adding social offerings, but really helping to promote and do more as far as helping with best practices about how you promote activities.”

She said education and pride in Marshalltown Schools is part of Vision Marshalltown’s core, and education naturally fit on the focus list.

“Education is really important to community pride, we have a great thing going with the school district right now,” Leger said, adding one goal is to promote youth in academics and athletics.

While she said Marshalltown is already a welcoming community, Leger added it’s an area that can be built upon.

“We are a really welcoming community, but we want to look at how we can continue to build that and how we can make sure we still are that welcoming community in the age of technology,” she said. “You walk around in any town in the U.S., and people are looking at their phones and not talking to people.”

The act of making welcomeness a focus area could cause some Marshalltownians to actively put down their phones and interact more with those around them, Leger said.

Additionally, each focus area will have its own subcommittee of community members working toward measurable results.

“We created focus areas, and the intent is that each of these four areas will have subcommittees,” Leger said. “Subcommittees will decide what specific goals to create.”

So far, Vision Marshalltown has looked for subcommittee members internally, as well as from organizations like Marshalltown Schools, the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce and the Marshalltown Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

With the release of the lists publicly on Friday, Leger said she’d like to see members of the public help with the effort.

“We’ll try to do some recruiting to help people be aware of what’s going on,” she said, adding she will be speaking at several community organizations about the focus areas.

Social media, such as Facebook, is also to be used in finding interested subcommittee members.

“We’re hoping that this way of doing things — of creating these focus areas and then throwing it out to the public to help be involved — that we’ll be able to find people that have the passion and time to volunteer and help make this happen,” Leger said.

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Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com