What is "First Impressions"?

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The look and feel of the downtown can influence the decisions of potential residents, visitors, and businesses. A vibrant downtown serves as a gathering place, a place for people to dine, shop, and conduct business. First Impressions is an assessment program that examines your downtown through the eyes of potential residents, visitors, and businesses, helping communities learn about their opportunities and empowering them to take steps to improve their downtown.

Your community will be matched with another community who has a similar downtown based on a number of criteria, such as size, location, amenities and  natural features. Both communities then agree to build a team of community volunteers to complete visits to the other community and report on their findings. Participants will document their visit, report out and engage with their community to take steps to improve their town. The University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension will provide facilitation, training, a written report, and follow up support for a year.

  • Business
  • Park
  • Points of interest
  • Public facilities
  • Sidewalks, crosswalks and trails
  • Streets and transportation
  • Waste and recycling
  • Community Art
  • Displays and signage
  • Downtown entrances
  • Landscaping
  • Lighting
  • Seating

  • Improving the visual appeal of your downtown
  • Strengthening marketing and promotion of your downtown
  • Enriching the climate of your downtown for new businesses, residents and visitors
  • Increasing the number of volunteers in your community


Molly Donovan
Community Economic Development State Specialist
Assoc State Specialist
Phone: (603) 862-5046
Office: Cooperative Extension, Nesmith Hall Rm 204C, Durham, NH 03824

Jada Lindblom
Community & Economic Development Field Specialist
Assoc Field Specialist
Phone: 603-527-5475
Office: UNH Cooperative Extension, Taylor Hall, Durham, NH 03824