CASSOPOLIS — In the summer of 2021, first-time visitors arrived in a local community unannounced, with a plan to assess the region’s tourist appeal. Next week, these visitors will announce their findings and plan to help the community improve.
First Impressions Tourism, an extension program of Michigan State University, is set to host a community forum to discuss their findings with leaders and residents of the village of Cassopolis. The form takes place on Wednesday, May 11 at Marion Magnolia Farms, 57376 Twin Lakes Road, Cassopolis. The report will include both the good and bad times they experienced, as well as an action plan to help bolster the development of Cassopolis.
According to MSU Extension, the FIT program is a comprehensive community assessment conducted by unannounced visitors to a host community positioned to lead new development based on program results.
FIT is about developing community leadership, evaluating the host community, sharing results in an open community forum, and providing suggestions to spur community action. Overall, FIT helps communities discover their strengths and weaknesses through the eyes of new visitors.
FIT representatives have already provided input to village leaders, but want to include local business leaders, educators, organizations and residents to make this a true community event. Village leaders will be present to hear the results and guide the next steps in the process.
Even with the improvements Cassopolis has made over the past few years — Stone Lake Beach, infrastructure projects, Midwest Energy & Communications SMART Park and more — village leader Emilie LaGrow said the group also has findings. reviews.
“Sometimes it’s hard to hear criticism,” said village manager Emilie LaGrow. “But in the end, it’s something that will help us improve.”
LaGrow also thanked Marion Magnolia Farms for hosting the event and encourages members of the public to attend.
The event, which begins at 5:30 p.m., is free to the public and includes a light dinner and refreshments. MSU Extension asks people to RSVP by visiting events.anr.msu.edu/FITCassopolis/. Closing of registrations on May 9 at 11:59 p.m.
Other event sponsors include the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Southwest Michigan Association of Realtors, The Lodges at Stone Lake, The Ed Lowe Foundation, MEC, Cassopolis Main Street, Illusions of Grandeur, Smile Center and The Law Firm by Stephen K. Woods.