Corning and Maquoketa Chosen for First Impressions Program

June 26, 2024, 5:03 pm | Diane Van Wyngarden, Esther Crompton

 Sunrise Over Small Town.AMES, Iowa – Two Iowa communities have been selected for a new program designed by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach to help strengthen a community’s tourism economy, attract new residents and skilled workforce, and enrich residents’ quality of life.

Corning and Maquoketa are Iowa’s first communities to participate in the “First Impressions” program, a comprehensive tourism and community assessment offered through a partnership between ISU Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Economic Development Authority/Iowa Tourism Office. Inspired by a successful initiative in Michigan, Diane Van Wyngarden, ISU Extension and Outreach state tourism specialist, designed this program specifically for the needs of Iowa communities.

“First Impressions is designed to help communities understand their strengths and weaknesses through the lens of first-time visitors,” Van Wyngarden said. "It equips communities with strategies to amplify their appeal to visitors and potential residents and formulate action steps that produce measurable outcomes."

The program includes advanced research and in-person visits by a trained assessment team. Assessment data are analyzed to form a comprehensive community report with actionable recommendations to enhance community vitality, elevate visitor experiences and improve overall quality of life. This report is shared with stakeholders and local residents during a public community forum.

For program information, visit the First Impressions webpage or contact Diane Van Wyngarden at

About the Authors: