Mississippi State Community Action Team (MSCAT)
A Program for
Community Assessment and Improvement
Final Report for Carrollton, Mississippi
Report Written by: Virgil Culver, Director
Mississippi State Community Action Team (MSCAT)
Mississippi State University
Program Developed by: Professor Andrew B. Lewis
Community Development Specialist
Center for Community Economic Development
University of Wisconsin Extension
Visitation Team Profile:
|Names:||Dr. Virgil Culver, Dr. Anna Hood, Dr. Ken Hood, Dr. Albert Myles, Mrs. Jan Culver, and Ms. Holly Gullett|
|Ages:||17 to 55|
|Occupations:||University administrator, Extension Professor, Extension Professor, Extension Professor, Homemaker, and High School senior, respectively.|
|Residences:||All from Oktibbeha County, Mississippi|
|Contact:||Dr. Virgil Culver, (662) 325-3221, email@example.com|
|Date of Visit:||Monday, August 21, 2006 (mid-morning to mid-afternoon)|
|Weather on date of visit:||Clear, hot (90+ degrees), humid|
1. Prior to the Visit
How easy was it to get information on the community that you are visiting?
The Carroll County Development Association (CCDA) has a nice website with good information on sites of interest and attractions in Carroll County. Carrollton is one of three population centers in the county. (http://www.carrollcountyms.com/home.htm). This site appears to be more of a tourist-oriented, promotion piece to attract rather than inform. After some digging, some education data can be found on the internet, but very little other useful information is available for Carrollton. There is a printed brochure available that essentially mimics the CCDA site information.
Did it accurately reflect what you saw?
The information on the web is good, but apparently dated, since some of the businesses listed do not appear to exist any longer. The website and the brochure did not, however, overstate the beautiful historic structures found in the Carrollton area.
Did the information arrive in a timely fashion?
No request was made for materials to be received through the mail. Preliminary information was provided by the Mississippi State University Extension Service office located in Carrollton and through conversations with members of the Beautification and Improvements Committee of the Carroll County Development Association.
Did you have difficulties obtaining information on the community through a web search?
No. A web search provided various sources for information on the schools, historic buildings, etc. There just wasn't much information to be found.
What was the quality of the information obtained from regional/state agencies and organizations?
Information on Carroll County is more readily available. Carrollton is so small, little information was segregated for the town itself. Education information from national database sites appears reasonably current.
2. Past Perceptions
What was your perception of the community before this visit? What did you expect to see? Please comment on your knowledge of this community:
Some of the team members knew of Carrollton by association with the County Extension Office and its staff and visits from prior years. Two of the team members had visited within the last few weeks prior to the day of our visit for an evening meeting of the Beautification and Improvements Committee of the Carroll County Development Association. One team member had no knowledge of the community at all. The perception (memory) of other team members with prior knowledge was of a small, very rural, but sustainable community with opportunities for tourism development based primarily on historic buildings. Not much commerce was expected.
3. The "Five Minute" Impression
After taking a five-minute drive through the community, without stopping, the following reactions were noted:
Gives the appearance of a warm, friendly community that is proud of it's heritage where private (and perhaps historical) structures are concerned, but lacks the vision or the means to care for some of the fundamental assets of a thriving community, e.g., streets, sidewalks, downtown buildings. Some side streets give the positive feel of entering a state park. There are some wonderful restored homes in Carrollton, but very limited commercial activity. Specific comments from team members were:
"It seemed really small. There were lots of really nice buildings, especially old ones. The old stores were so cute, but run down. The forest grew up to the road giving a closed in feeling."
"Sleepy, older, rural town. Activity level in town was extremely low and the town had a deserted appearance. Relaxing older homes, but many of the homes were in need of general maintenance. Landscapes needed rejuvenating. Downtown area needs general clean up and landscaping."
"Lovely, quiet, very small. Large beautiful homes. Obvious pride in community—homes and yards well-maintained. No litter. Historic heritage, but no historic markers. Several pretty churches. Many downtown buildings appear to be vacant—some in poor repair. Didn't notice but one restaurant. No doctor's offices. MSU Extension Office easily seen. Nice town square. No signs on what appears to be Court House. Interesting-looking Merrill Museum. Very attractive Community House—old log cabin."
"'Ghost Town'—only saw 2 moving vehicles and no people walking around the town. The few businesses that were open appeared dark."
"The Service Station was the busiest place."
4. Community Entrances
The following observations were noted when entering the community from major entrances:
Approached from the south (Hwy 82)
"The welcome sign on Highway 82 westbound is hidden, too far from the highway, and too far from the highway 35 intersection. It is an attractive sign, but should be moved to the intersection of Highways 82 and 35, in a place of prominence. The sign on Hwy 82 approaching Carrollton eastbound is very visible and well-positioned."
"The sign indicating the location of the Community House is the only indication that you are arriving into the business district and gives the impression that there isn't much else to promote about the community. The entrance itself is a pleasant entry into the community."
"Inconspicuous signage was noticed on Hwy 82 a good distance before the turn onto Lexington Street. Dangerous intersection—Lexington Street and Hwy. 17."
"There were two really nice signs, but they were in bad places. It would look really nice if there were some more signs."
"Welcome sign needed to be in a more prominent location. Area around the community house needs work on landscaping. The community house is a beautiful old building and it needs to be a feature point of community. Landscape can be used to accentuate the beauty of the building."
"Saw no welcome sign as we approached."
"Warm and inviting. Good road. No traffic lights that I remember. Turn to Community building well marked. Entrance to private school well marked. Almost no other directional signage. No indication of when we left Carrollton and entered North Carrollton. Slanted sidewalks in very poor repair in front of some homes near downtown."
Approached from North Carrollton:
"There is not obvious division between Carrollton and North Carrollton. Only after talking to residents do you learn that the creek divides the two. In fact, several residents referred to North Carrollton as downtown."
"The area around the bridge needs a major clean up and landscaping. Welcome sign needed."
"Nicer appearance than N. Carrollton. Very nice Library."
5. Downtown Business Area
Observations about the general appearance
"The downtown area has the appearance of an aging community waiting on a community champion to start a community restoration campaign. It has a mix of wonderful old buildings that are in great repair and some that are begging for help."
"It had such cute buildings, but they were run down. The sidewalks were broken and cracked."
"A few nice buildings—Courthouse, law office and Extension office, Sheriff's Office, Restaurant. For the most part, the city/Main Street looked unoccupied."
"Tired, run down, deserted appearance."
"Interesting and quaint. Clean."
General appearance of buildings, displays, signage:
"There does not seem to be any new construction at all in the town area. Some buildings have been kept in good repair while others seem abandoned. Signs on all the occupied buildings are not clearly visible to visitors. Even while walking some of the businesses are not easily identifiable due to poor signage (larger sizes would help)."
"Old and run down. Some businesses had obviously been closed for quite a while and were filled with 'junk.' Signs were still in front of buildings that were not occupied."
"With the exception of the sign indicating direction to Carroll Academy, visitors have to stop and ask where various places of interest are. The MSU-ES office is clearly identifiable from a distance. One prominent structure that should be obvious to everyone who visits the community is the courthouse. However, it is not signed as the courthouse and the signage out front suggests that it is a memorial not a courthouse. The wrought iron fence surrounding the courthouse is an obvious distinctive feature in and of itself. A fresh coat of paint would help."
"The signs were very nice, but they need some that you can read from the sidewalk. The buildings were dirty. They would look much better cleaned."
"Many of the buildings needed general clean up and maintenance."
"No sign on Courthouse. Sign for lawyer, Extension Service, and Sheriff very clear and easy to read. Signs on businesses were above or in front of the covered walkway—not many signs directly on the door or window of the business to be easily viewed by pedestrians."
The variety of shopping:
"There is very little to encourage shopping in Carrollton. The community seems to be content to provide only the necessities like gas and government services for its citizens."
"There was a video store and nothing else."
"Very, very limited—only one retail store and a service station."
"Almost none. Only two retail establishments."
"You could shop for gas appliances, rent videos, or select from very limited jewelry and gift selection (in the video store). No place to even buy a cold cola or an ice cream cone. No inviting atmosphere."
How would you rate the variety and quality of merchandise?
"There was a variety of things offered at the video rental store, like clothes, purses, decorative things. Some were cute, but some of the stuff was dumpy."
"Not very high quality but a wide assortment of items in the Video Exchange Store. The service station was not your typical Quick Stop."
"Almost non-existent—I found nothing to draw me back to Carrollton."
What kind of customer service did you receive when you entered the retail businesses?
"People in general were very friendly and engaging."
"The customer service was great, the lady (video store) was nice, polite, and talkative."
"Friendly, seemed interested in customers."
"Very friendly—warm and genuine."
"Received very good customer service in the only retail store—Video Exchange."
Were there governmental or nonprofit organizational activities that might serve as a magnet for the shopping district?
"Merrill Museum- which is not open for visitors."
"Not that I could see."
"Most were in place but more informative signage is needed especially around the exterior of the courthouse."
"MSU Extension Service."
Were there the following public amenities?
Pay phones (working with phonebook intact):
No pay phones were located by any of the team members.
No drinking fountains were located by any of the team members.
There was a mix of comments by team members like, "I don't remember seeing any", to "maybe one or two."
"At the courthouse only. The inside restrooms were signed as being upstairs, but when you get upstairs you have to guess where to go. This could be a problem since the courtroom is also upstairs."
"One inside the courthouse on first floor and one outside the courthouse."
"Several around courthouse."
"In courthouse, or rather behind it."
"Natural growth only appears to be the rule for the town area. Some nice large trees, but little effort appears to have been made to beautify the downtown area."
"A few flower containers on Main Street that needed attention."
"Working on lawn of Courthouse; around the Square, nothing ugly but nothing exceptional."
Did you have any difficulty finding parking? Could you access multiple services from where you parked?
"There appears to be sufficient parking for the downtown area, primarily due to the lack of retail business requiring additional parking."
"There was no difficulty parking. You could access everything from our parking place."
"No problem parking; can very easily access the entire downtown by foot."
"No difficulty and easy access."
"No problem parking."
6. Other Retail Shopping Areas (big box retailers/shopping malls)?
"There are no big box retailers in the immediate area of Carrollton."
7. Industrial Parks/Commercial areas
Is there a defined area where manufacturing industries could easily locate/expand?
"There did not appear to be any commercial areas in Carrollton. Although there is plenty of land in and around the community there did not seem to be an identifiable industrial or commercial area designated."
"There were a few vacant lots near the down town area."
"There appeared to be unused property available away from the downtown area—possibly along Hwy 82; unclear about the city limits to know if this is actually part of Carrollton."
What did you find attractive about the potential locations for manufacturing/commercial businesses?
"Proximity to Highway 82. Plenty of space to locate light industry."
"Not sure any exist at this time."
"Hwy 82 is the main East-West Corridor for Central Mississippi—great visibility—lots of traffic."
8. Health Care Services
Comment on the availability and apparent quality of hospitals and emergency medical services.
"There did not appear to be any medical services available in Carrollton. There were signs for health-related events to be held in North Carrollton."
"There weren't any."
"No hospital or emergency medical services."
"Only saw one Emergency 911 vehicle, by Sheriffs office—no hospital or clinics that I saw."
Comment on the availability and condition of facilities for physician, dental, optometrist, and other medical care.
All team members agreed that there did not seem to be any medical care facilities of any kind in Carrollton.
What long-term care, assisted living, or nursing facilities exist in the community?
There were no facilities identified as long-term care facilities in Carrollton.
How would you evaluate the existing mix of housing stock?
"Carrollton is primarily an older homes community, with a few relatively new private residences. Only after visiting with residents did we find that there were a few apartments available in one of the downtown buildings that had been converted to apartments. No multi-tenant structures were noted."
"A mix of nice, older, well maintained homes and some that needed cleaning up."
"They had one apartment building."
"Little mix, mostly single family housing."
"There were a lot of family-sized homes; no apartment complexes or trailer parks; some apartments above the downtown buildings."
Were there any indications that the housing market was depressed?
"Very few, if any, homes were for sale."
"There weren't any houses for sale."
"Not sure, did not appear to be depressed."
"Saw no For Sale signs on homes."
Were there any signs that it would be difficult to find acceptable housing?
"Yes, with little to no available apartments, private residences, or overnight lodging accommodations, short-term and long-term housing is a problem."
"Not many for sale signs and no new construction. It might be difficult to find acceptable housing available."
"Yes—Only one realtor sign was seen at a home for sale."
Does the local housing market have housing that would appeal to all income ranges?
"Based on the size and condition of homes in the area, it appears that the housing market in Carrollton would cater to mid-to high-income families. There were no low income housing options noted."
"Could not determine. Appears to be no housing for lower income families. Individual homes ranged in size from small to very large."
Are there sufficient rental properties for persons interested in building or simply living in the community prior to buying housing?
"Did not see any 'FOR RENT' signs."
"No rental property available."
Do the schools appear to be adequate in size or do you see the use of "temporary class rooms"? Are they well maintained? Please comment on the following:
"Carroll Academy is the only school in Carrollton. Public elementary and high schools are located in North Carrollton. Carroll Academy appears to be well-established in primarily metal-fabricated buildings, with its own gym. It is assumed that field games (e.g., baseball, football, soccer) occur at the Carrollton Stadium north of town."
"Carroll Academy was the only school seen. It was well maintained on the outside. Appeared to include all grades. Superintendent of Education Office was located on the Main Street but no city or county schools were seen."
"Directly in front of the academy is a lot used for parking that gives the impression of being an afterthought for overflow parking. Haphazard parking doesn't give a good impression for the school when that's the first thing you see as you approach."
"The school was big enough for the kids they had."
Pre-school/kindergarten/head start/day care facilities:
"I didn't recognize any."
"Did not see any. Could have been combined with elementary school."
"Saw one 'home' that had a lot of playground equipment in the backyard. Saw no children. No sign indicating Day Care facilities or Head Start. Kindergarten could be a part of the private school."
"One public (N. Carrollton), one private (Carrollton), both seem adequate."
"Only saw one private school—nice buildings; nice playground equipment."
Middle school/junior high:
"Grades 1 - 12 seemed to be combined at the Carroll Academy private school. The stadium had a nice athletic complex of fields but very inadequate bleachers and seating. Do all children wanting a public school have to go to North Carrollton?"
Higher education (community college, technical college, university):
"None, however the local library seemed well stocked and had two computer terminals available to public with Internet access to on-line education courses."
"None in Carrollton."
"Not sure where the nearest college would be."
Were you able to find print information in the community that helped assess the quality of the educational system?
"No, unfortunately not."
Comment on the number of denominations represented in the community:
"At least four denominations are represented in the community—Baptist, United Methodist, Presbyterian, and Episcopal. Others may exist, but buildings and signage were not noted."
Comment on the physical appearance of the churches in the community:
"The church facilities were all not only in good repair and well-maintained, but appeared inviting. With exception of the Baptist Church building (probably because of the setting), they all seemed to be original structures that have historical significance."
"Baptist Church was brick but the others were nice, attractive, and quaint looking."
"Had signs with their origination date."
"The churches were all nice and clean."
"One newer building. The other three are older, well maintained historical buildings."
"Charming churches, medium size. Didn't notice any signs indicating times for services."
Are there any signs of church-sponsored community services?
None were noticed by any team members.
Are there any facilities or statements that some would view as intrusive or that would make someone feel uncomfortable if they were not of a particular faith?
Nothing of concern noticed by team members.
Does it appear as though there are a variety of nonprofit organizations and clubs within the community?
"The absence of civic club activity was noted. There does not appear to be much organized civic activity at all in Carrollton. There is an old Masonic Lodge building, but whether there is activity is unknown. None of the usual clubs, Boy Scouts, Civitan, Rotary, Lions, etc. were noted. No signs were noted indicating United Way, Senior Citizens activities, etc."
"The library is a bright spot in community. Not only is it accessible and well-stocked, it is an obvious victory in bridging Carrollton and North Carrollton in a common interest."
"No. There was a Masonic Lodge in disrepair with a notice on the door indicating their desire to renovate."
"The Carrollton Post Office is very nice and apparently new. We learned that the limited population base prevents home delivery of mail, so having a nice Post Office is a plus."
In what ways did you find (or not find) people helpful?
"The lady at the Video Exchange Store offered a lot of information about the Community."
"All of the people we talked with were very friendly and helpful with directions and recommendations."
"They were very nice, and would willingly answer your questions."
"Hard to find people. Almost a deserted atmosphere."
"Everyone I met was very friendly, very hospitable. They were willing to help me locate a good restaurant, find out how to get the museum open for a tour, locate an antique store, etc."
How did the people talk about their community? What were their attitudes about their schools, public leaders, and community services?
"The most frequent comments on these issues were from residents who were concerned about the future of the community and seemed desperate to find some way to rekindle economic activity in the community. The attitudes seemed to be, 'I like living here, but there isn't much here.'"
"Some frustration was expressed about the inability of the community to restore and open some key buildings to the public as tourist attractions, e.g., the museum, newspaper office, and the general mercantile store."
"There is definitely a division between the communities of Carrolton and N. Carrollton. The feeling is that the people want to improve their community and increase business."
"Most were very excited about the potential for Carrollton. Some commented on the leadership being older and not as progressive in their thinking—possibly being responsible for Carrollton's stagnant growth. Some were frustrated by the lack of cooperation by the Antiquities Society in opening the Merrill Museum and the Newspaper office. Although there are frequent requests by visitors to tour the Merrill Museum, it is almost impossible to arrange a tour. Others expressed a willingness to do whatever it takes to draw more tourists and businesses to the town."
"Someone we talked to liked her community, but recognized that it needed help. They gave the impression that they wanted a younger community leader."
"Interested in community growing, however concerned about split between Carrollton and North Carrollton."
Were community members knowledgeable about their community or able to refer you to people who were?"
"Yes, the people we talked to seemed to know about the buildings and what was and was not available in Carrollton. They invariably referred us to the mayor if we needed something. One or two knew that the 'Antiquities Society' owned some of the buildings."
"Yes, everyone seemed to have the same conclusion—lots of charm, lots of potential, stagnated vision of what to do to enhance their existing resources."
Did residents reflect the diversity that is represented in the rest of the country? Are there some segments of the population that would not feel comfortable in this community?
"Carrollton appears to be predominantly Caucasian, middle aged or older. In the four hours we spent in the community, I remember seeing only one minority engaging with the community (service station). How many of the school-aged children might be engaged in the downtown area on a non-school day is unknown."
"I think the majority of the residents are probably middle class Caucasians. Community seems much more affluent than North Carrollton."
14. Public Infrastructure
Streets, street signing and lighting:
"The mid-town streets are in good repair. Some side streets are narrow and in need of repair in residential areas."
"Streets were in good shape with street signs."
"The streets were narrow and they had some street signs, but no lighting that I noticed."
"Streets seemed to be in fair condition. Street signs need to be rejuvenated and many street signs were not visible."
"Some street signs were missing or non-existent. The streets were in good repair although some seemed rather narrow for two-way traffic."
Land Use Planning:
"Did not see evidence of planning."
"There's not much space for expanding the downtown area, but the Square area could become a very charming shopping district for antiques, art, specialty gift shops, ice cream parlor/coffee shop, a 'step-back-in-time' General Mercantile store/museum, and other historic museum-type buildings. Offices for other types of business would be better located away from the Square."
"Sidewalks for the most part are in urgent need of repair/replacement. Some are literally falling downhill, while others are overgrown and impassible. Those at the Community House are obviously relatively new and well-maintained."
"Some in good shape; some very dangerous and unusable."
"They were very bad."
"Sidewalks need to be refurbished in many parts of town. Current condition of sidewalks presents a safety hazard to pedestrians."
"Public restrooms were found at the courthouse (inside and outside). A sign directs those inside to the restroom upstairs, but once you get upstairs pure guesswork is needed to actually find the restroom."
"Probably ample for the amount of traffic in the town at this point."
"Very hard to find."
"I didn't see any."
"Only ones visible to visitors were located in and around the courthouse. However, they were in good condition and clean."
"An obvious city administrative building other than the courthouse was not found. The Waterworks office is easily located, while the Sanitation Department was found in the MSU-ES office building. The combination of sanitation with MSU-ES rather than Waterworks is a curiosity. The courthouse, where you would normally expect administrative offices is very prominent in downtown."
"Located in center of downtown (courthouse). Impressive historical building. Needs signage and landscaping. This could be a focal point for downtown."
"Courthouse is only building of this type. It had a very odd layout. Not warm or welcoming. Offices inside not well defined."
Police/Fire Protection/Emergency Medical Services Facilities:
"The sheriff's office is easily located, with an apparent jail structure located in a building to the rear. There did not appear to be a fire station in Carrollton although there did appear to be ample fire hydrants around town."
"Sheriff's Office was the only observed facility and it was nice from the outside."
"They had a police station and lots of fire hydrants."
"Saw no evidence of fire protection other than fire hydrants. One emergency 911 vehicle at Sheriff's office."
"County sheriff department across from courthouse. No medical facilities. There seemed to be a well-marked and sufficient fire hydrant system in town."
"There appeared to be ample public parking in the downtown area for the current amount of activity. With additional shops, etc., parking may become a problem on those days when significant activity occurs in the courthouse."
"There was enough for the current population."
"Moderate amount around square."
"Ample for now."
"Seemed adequate for now, but with growth the need for more public parking is apparent."
"They shared one with North Carrollton."
"New, well stocked, vibrant. A plus for the community."
"Very nice with internet access; very popular place for adults."
"Landscaping does not seem to be a high priority for the downtown area. Obvious care is given to local resident landscapes, but little has been done to beautify the downtown area."
"Nothing exceptional, but nothing negative."
"There wasn't any landscaping."
"Landscaping could use a major effort for downtown area and entrances into town. A major effort in landscaping could help instill a sense of community pride."
Is the community well known for any particular attraction or event? Do they have a community slogan that capitalizes on that asset?
"Brochures for the county use 'Find your roots in Carroll County' but the city of Carrollton doesn't seem to be designated in any way. There are several buildings of historical significance that could be used as major tourist attractions. The Community House is particularly interesting as one of the few remaining log structures in such good repair."
"No, not really."
"No slogan. Someone mentioned a famous musician who gives occasional concerts at his home in the area but also commented that their location was almost impossible to locate."
Comment on the availability of overnight accommodations:
"There weren't any."
Did you see any indication of significant events taking place in the community that would be of interest to both visitors and residents?
"No. In fact, the area seemed somewhat lifeless."
"Opportunity for such in several areas but nothing currently active."
Are there any significant natural features that have the potential of drawing people to the community?
"No, not really."
"The antebellum homes, the large trees and laid-back atmosphere, the sense of stepping back in time and experiencing the 'good ole days'."
"Wildlife is possibility, both for hunting and non-hunting activities. The community house might be used to create a garden area behind the house with a walking tour that includes a butterfly attraction area."
Are there any significant man-made attractions?
"Older homes and antiques."
"The Museum containing some of the McCain family memorabilia of WWI and other antiques and items seemed particularly interesting, but closed. The old newspaper office and the corner mercantile were also very interesting but closed."
Is there an obvious visitor's center, chamber of commerce office, Main Street office, or other facility that serves the needs of visitors? Please comment on the staff, facilities, signage, visibility, etc.
"Ye Old Water Dept. seemed to be the place to obtain information."
"There isn't any facility of the sort except Miss Sippy's Coffee Shop."
"No. The community house has potential to be welcome center."
"No; one of the local merchants served in that role accidentally and unintentionally."
Are there any restaurants, specialty shops or attractions that would bring you back to this community in the near future?
"There were two restaurants available, Miss Sippy's and one other immediately on the right as you enter from Highway 82. The latter did not appear open as we came into town, but seemed to have just been renovated and looked very nice from the outside. There were no shops of distinction that would interest me for a return visit."
"Miss Sippy's Restaurant."
"One restaurant, Miss Sippy's."
"If I knew for sure they would be open, I would come back to browse/shop at the antique stores and tour the Mercantile store and the museums. I would visit the new art gallery that is opening in the future."
16. Using Your Senses
What did the community taste like? Was there any specialty food item, bakery, restaurant, or candy store that you will remember?
"No sense of taste to Carrollton, although the bakery items at Miss Sippy's could be used to start something."
"The homemade breads at Miss Sippey's were fantastic. I bought a loaf and two cinnamon rolls—delicious!"
"Miss Sippy's Restaurant"
What did the community smell like?
"Did not notice anything."
"Nothing positive or negative noted."
"Nothing offensive; nothing memorable."
What sounds did you hear?
"Carrollton has the small community sounds of nature running through it. In fact, we saw deer as we drove around the residential area. However, it also has the sound of through traffic on the main through street that gets loud if you're trying to have a conversation along the sidewalks in front of stores. This is both good and bad. Good in that a lot of traffic is going through and bad in that the people traveling through have no reason to stop."
"Rather quiet in the morning. More traffic in the afternoon."
"Not many, very quiet."
"It was rather quiet except for traffic sounds."
Did you have any experiences that impacted the way the community feels?
"I kept getting the feeling that the community was deserted."
"I stepped out of the car eager to visit the downtown shops. I felt a growing disappointment as I walked around the square and realized how empty it was. I had the sense that it had a terminal disease except for the improvements being made in two buildings—the new art shop and the new apartment building."
"Not seeing many people made it feel desolate."
What are the five most positive things that you observed about the community?
"1) The wonderful historic buildings, homes, and churches; 2) The friendly people; 3) The opportunities for entrepreneurial activity; 4) The allure of tourism that isn't there; and 5) The almost desperate drive of people to get something done."
"1) Older homes 2.) Library 3) Churches 4) Wildlife 5) Community House"
"1) The people are friendly and eager to make the most of their community's assets; 2) Lots of potential for creating an inviting 'tourist stop', or day tour, or just an inviting stop for a quick lunch for truckers, travelers, etc.; 3) Very clean with well-maintained lawns and homes in the residential areas; 4) Some promising signs of revitalization in a couple of businesses on 'Main Street' and 5) An amazing amount of traffic traveling through the downtown area."
"1) Strong religious community—4 denominations; 2) Very nice library; 3) Very nice courthouse and lawn on the downtown square; 4) No low income project housing; and 5) Very attractive old structures—especially the small churches."
What are the five biggest obstacles/challenges facing this community?
"1) The ownership of the founded families; 2) The lack of basic services (buying a cold drink, or food staples); 3) No housing opportunities for people to visit or move there; 4) No consensus on what needs to be done; and 5) The division between Carrollton and North Carrollton."
"1) Lack of retail establishments; 2) Deteriorating building frontages downtown; 3) Lack of cooperation with North Carrollton; 4) deserted appearance downtown; and 5) Landscaping."
"1) Very small population; 2) Can't seem to attract basic businesses like a grocery store, drug store, gift shop, clothing store, etc (Why have those businesses located in North Carrollton instead of Carrollton???); 3) Lack of funding for revitalization; 4) Too many store fronts that have become storage facilities—leaves very negative impression (If those windows were covered with sheer curtains, it would prevent the negative impression from peering into some junk piles and obvious lack of activity); 5) The community brochure is attractive and inviting—promising a wide variety of quaint attractions. Expectations are raised but followed by disappointment and an acute awareness that the community must be desperate to advertise attractions that are unavailable."
"1) Attracting more residences to the community—increasing population; 2) Attracting businesses/economic development; 3) Better relationship with North Carrollton to increase population and economic development for the entire county; 4) Combining resources/city governments/etc.; and 5) Providing the infrastructure to entice people to want to live in or move to Carrollton."
What will you remember most about this community six months from now (positive or negative)?
"Great things to see but not being able to see them (mercantile store, museum, newspaper office)"
"Little activity in downtown area. Where are all the people?"
"I will be curious to know if the museums (Merrill, newspaper, and the old Mercantile store) are open for tours or visiting and if the new art gallery has opened. Also, I'll remember the loaf of homemade Whole Wheat bread I purchased at Miss Sippy's."
"Positive: Miss Sippy's Restaurant; Neat small churches—would like to go back and see inside the churches; Courthouse square. Negative: Closed, run down buildings on Main Street."
Describe ONE idea that you will borrow for use in your own business/community and describe how you will start to implement it within the next 72 hours!
"The importance of first impressions. Landscaping can make such a positive impact on visitors. I think it is a priority of any community to focus on making the downtown and entrance landscape appealing to the eye of the visitor."