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Marketing Hometown America

Author: 
Wilson Bowling

Marketing Hometown America(MHA) was a grant funded project created and overseen by University of Nebraska Lincoln‘s Extension System.   The purpose of this program was to get citizen involved in creating an action plan to bring residents back to rural communities.  Kimball, along with Neligh in the eastern part of the state, was chosen to take part of the project.  

For four weeks, multiple groups of citizens, both longtime residents and newcomers, met, talked, listened, and eventually came up with action items to present at the final meeting, the Community Action Forum.  Everyone at the Forum voted for the aspects they felt were most needed and feasible for members of the community to accomplish.  Four areas stood out:  enhance Kimball’s web presence, create a one-stop-shop for easily accessible information, create more recreational opportunities within the city, and create a stronger sense of pride throughout Kimball.

Since the meeting in November, a group of motivated and excited members of the MHA groups have met twice a month to develop strategies to accomplish these goals.  Each of the four goals became a committee within this unofficial organization.

As the group began to plan and strategize, some ideas became clear.   In regards enhancing our rural population, the connotation of marketing gave the feeling of “Give me your money!”   The word “recruiting” gave more of a neighborly vibe.   In order to be able to accept donations and to be more official, the group has named themselves the Kimball Recruitment Coalition (KRC) and is seeking legal status.

So far, many ideas have been formed and, work has been started.  The committees for the Information Stop and Web Presence have teamed up to look into creating a web portal for the city.  This site will house information and links for everything in Kimball.  The Recreation Committee is looking into a walking and biking trail from Gotte Park to the recreation area near the golf course.  The Community Pride Committee has been working with Kimball Jr/Sr High School in creating Spanish/English Flyers and events to promote local businesses.  The KRC has applied for two UNL interns through the Rural Futures Institute.   If selected, these interns will help KRC, the City of Kimball Economic Development, and Kimball County with projects for 8 weeks in the summer 2014.

There will be another Commuinty Action Forum on February 11, at 5:30 pm to official give an update to those who spent four weeks creating these ideas.  It will be held at the 4-H building.

It was a fear b y many that this effort would fizzle soon after inception, but rest assured that this group is picking up steam and not slowing down.  They meet every 2nd and 4th Monday, 12:00 pm at the Kimball Health Services North Campus (Former West Elementary) .  More information can be found at the KRC information page.