Dyar gives community development tips

By Russell Hood The Webster Progress-Times

Consultant Dianne Dyar shared tips with the Eupora Rotary Club on Jan. 15 on how Eupora can become a well thought-out community for tourists and residents.

Dyar, of Madison, served as executive director of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce for 15 years. The Eupora Board of Aldermen voted Dec. 3 for the city to enter into a six-month memorandum of understanding with her Dyar Communication Strategy company, starting Jan. 1.

City aldermen did so after discussing the need for retail development at the local level. Board members said they believed Dyar, with her experience, will be able to provide the information the city needs to determine if a formalized organization is needed, whether that be a business council or chamber of commerce.

Dyar is contracted to conduct onsite visits at least twice a month for follow-up planning and meetings. She is to give the city an exact plan and will report each month on what she is doing, and give the city a recommendation of what it needs to do.

Dyar, noting that everything is instant today, told Rotarians that time must be taken to prepare for community and city planning. She used the word “PREPARE” to explain her development tips, with each letter standing for Perspective, Ready, Energy, Plan, Arrive, Resources and Evaluate, and gave examples from other communities.

Dyar said communities should put things in perspective and be ready for development. “It’s all about your attitude,” she said. “You need to be honest about what you really want.”

She defined energy as passion and commitment. “You take the lead. … It’s not just the public officials’ job to do stuff.”

Regarding planning, Dyar said communities should start with the foundation and basics. “Build layer upon layer,” she said.

As for “arrive,” Dyar said, “You’ve gotta show up” by attending community events and helping support one’s community.

Communities should promote their resources, said Dyar. She cited the potential of building events around Whites Creek Lake, especially with it being located within the municipality. She noted that it is one of only two lakes in the state that is a designated canoe trail.

“You need to promote that with canoe-related activities” such as competitions, she suggested, adding that volunteers could be used to organize them. “You can build a whole economy around that description. … If you can dream it, you can do it.”

Evaluating community programs along the way is also important, according to Dyar. She said this is not criticizing but to make things better.

Dyar also recommended having a creative economy, possibly building upon the large number of musically creative people here. Another example she gave was having a community garden.