The Creative Corner: What makes a town appealing?
Consider how resident view Wadena and how visitors view Wadena. What's the difference?
There are many reasons why people choose to live where they do. Among those reasons are family and friends, their jobs, the availability of entertainment, the size of a place, its geographical location, the town’s culture, and what the town looks like. That is not an exhaustive list, but some of the more common criteria that people consider when they make a move.
When I think of what is important to understand for the construction of a Creative Community Plan for Wadena, one of the most important factors is what the town’s identity is. What do people think of when they think of Wadena? Is there a difference between what residents think of compared to visitors to town? And if the town’s outward identity differs from what its actual residents see, then how do we represent Wadena to outsiders the way that insiders know it to be? As we grow closer and closer to involving the people of Wadena and surrounding area through collecting feedback and putting together events, I encourage anyone who reads this column to ask themselves these kinds of questions about the place that they live.
Wadena is a special place, and the people who live here know that. The trick is showing those who are not from here why they should visit, work, or live here too. Strategically planning the way that we can promote Wadena and improve the area over the coming years is key. Additionally, this planning process that the town and its residents will go through is only the beginning. The Creative Community Plan is not the destination, but the roadmap for achieving the future that Wadena sees for itself. That is why it is important to be involved from the beginning until the end—this place where you live can be shaped by your ideas and input. Years from now, after the completion of this plan, it would be a wonderful feeling to point toward something in your community and say, “I was a part of that,” “my parent did that,” or even “my grandparent was the one who thought of that.” The places where we live can mean more than the roots that we have put down, they can also be a part of the legacy that we leave behind.
Lillian Norman is a Lead for Minnesota fellow serving the city of Wadena.