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Aug. 25, 2017
Northwest Missouri State University employees gathered Wednesday with community leaders for the University’s annual fall All-Employee Meeting, which highlighted outcomes of successful partnerships with the city of Maryville and challenged the audience to look for more opportunities aimed at enhancing the quality of life for students as well as residents of the community.
The meeting, which also featured a presentation by downtown revitalization expert Ron Drake, was themed “Powering Regional Impacts Through Strategic Partnering.” Maryville City Manager Greg McDanel also joined Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski for the discussion.
“Our partnership with our community has never been stronger and we can take it to even greater heights,” Jasinski said, thanking organizations such as the Maryville Downtown Improvement Association, Maryville Parks and Recreation, Nodaway County Economic Development and the Greater Maryville Chamber of Commerce for their involvement with University initiatives. “We are thinking about the quality of life, quality of work, quality of living, vitality and viability. We’ve got a long history of partnering with our community members, but I think we can take it to another level.”
For his part, McDanel, a 2002 Northwest graduate with 15 years of experience in city government, highlighted recent collaborations involving Northwest and the city that have led to significant improvements.
In 2012, students in Northwest’s advanced advertising strategies course, under the advisement of Jacquie Lamer, senior instructor of mass media, were tasked with rebranding Maryville’s 3,000-acre Mozingo Lake area and its amenities – an important project that established momentum and laid a foundation for the addition of a youth golf course, hotel and conference center.
Then in 2015, Northwest and the city cut a ribbon to signal the completion of the Fourth Street Improvement project – a $2 million effort to functionally and aesthetically enhance the six-block corridor connecting Maryville’s downtown to the Northwest campus. Last year, the project was recognized by the Missouri Chapter of the American Planning Association and its Great Places in Missouri program with the Great Street Award.
More recently, Northwest broke ground on the Carl and Cheryl Hughes Fieldhouse, a 137,250 square-foot, $20 million facility designed to serve a multitude of social, recreational and economic needs for the University and the region. Northwest has partnered with the city throughout the planning process, and plans for the facility gained significant momentum last fall after Maryville voters passed a transient guest tax last November that will provide operational support.
“Other communities and major universities are coming up to us and saying, ‘What is Maryville’s special sauce?’” McDanel said. “’What’s the secret recipe that you all have?’ – because they don’t share that kind of relationship with their respective counterparts.”
McDanel added Maryville’s Comprehensive Plan and Northwest’s Campus Master Plan helped to assess the realities of their assets and laid out ideas for the futures of both. “The projects and initiatives that have come from both of these plans and will come from both of these plans in the future are transformational,” McDanel said.
Drake and his company, Ron Consulting LLC in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, provides quality-of-life consulting services to small towns. Drake is the author of “Flip this Town: Preservation Made Practical on Main Street USA” and regularly gives presentations throughout the country about his techniques for reviving downtown commercial districts.
Drake challenged the audience on Wednesday to take a fresh look at Maryville and leverage potential for unused or vacant spaces.
“A healthy community starts with a healthy downtown, which is a healthy heart,” Drake said. “It’s where the community was founded. We need to guard the heart of Maryville.”
In addition to his visit to Maryville and presentation at Northwest this week, the Community Foundation of Northwest Missouri hosted Drake earlier this year for a three-day visit and tour of the city.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900
Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468