As the tourist season winds down, we start considering our byway's budget for the next year. This might be a good time to evaluate the byway and its operation, attractions and our visitor experience. The NSBF website has a number of tools that can help. One that I found helpful is "A Self-Assessment Tool for Byways," developed by the America's Byways Resource Center (July 2012). It looks at six key factors of any byway.
These are somewhat different than the criteria that was used when preparing a corridor management plan. It really looks at how you are implementing your Corridor Management Plan and how sustainable the byway and your organization may be.
As you go through the evaluation, either as a byway leader or as an implementing organization, you will see your strengths and your weaknesses.
Use the results to make budgetary and program decisions for next year.
I offer two cautions:
- At the end of sections 3, 5 and 6 be aware that the perfect score is not 28, so adjust the math accordingly. This should not cloud the overall usefulness of the document or the evaluation process.
- Resist the temptation to compare how your byway is doing against the one elsewhere in the state or country. If you are an "analytical type," the scores may be lower than those arrived at by someone in marketing or hospitality.
What is important is seeing where your strengths and weaknesses lie.
Use it as a constructive tool to build a better byway, improve your visitor experience, and bolster the sense of community and quality of life along your byway.
Contributed by Eric Hamilton, Director for the NSB Foundation and Mohawk Towpath Byway