Do we rebuild?

In July of 2022 Letcher County, Kentucky had a 100 year flood, that left many businesses having to decide if they should rebuild or not. The devastation was beyond believe. The IGA Grocery store in the small town of Isom was one of the many businesses affected.  On a visit to the county one year…

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Thursday with Townsel in Letcher County, KY

Bad roads in Carcassonne, Kentucky I presented the Idea Friendly Method to several groups in Letcher County, KY. The group from Carcassonne talked about bad roads being a problem. By bad roads, I mean they have two lane traffic on a one lane road. In the mountains of Kentucky. There are places to pull over…

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Advice to those working in small towns

The International Economic Development Council published my article that includes advice too: Survey of Rural Challenges: Results Show Optimism and Big Disconnects, and what economic developers can do about it.   The article was about the results from the Survey of Rural Challenges, and some advice to economic developers and others working in rural communities. You…

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Small Towns or Big Cities?

Did you know more people are leaving big cities and moving to small towns? Why is that? There are several easy answers: Lower cost of living Recreational offerings like trails, beaches, and mountains Smaller and better schools Safer streets No traffic and shorter commutes to work What are some of the benefits of moving from…

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Our Young People are Leaving

In an email, the writer asked: Why are young people leaving their small towns?  What can rural communities do, or are doing, to compete?  Why are young people leaving?  Here’s just a few things people told us in The Survey of Rural Challenges about why youth are leaving:  This town experiences many of the same…

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Successful economic development involves the arts

Crack Art by Sara McKnight

The top conclusion of the survey was that rural people were twice as likely to say they were optimistic about their communities’ future as negative. Times they are a’changin. The old ways are no longer working, and new ways are being explored. People are realizing a community is made up of many people, and they…

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We tried an idea

RAGBRAI bike riders in Webster City

The Survey of Rural Challenges had a place to add comments. We were pleasantly surprised to see how many people shared something related to “we tried an idea.” Here’s a few: New idea for a restaurant: Adding a lunch counter and doing things totally different than anyone else in town. People either love it or…

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Use the assets you have in your small town

People in small towns often say “there’s nothing to do here.” I beg to differ. You will be surprised by the list of assets you can come up with. Caring people, good schools, local artists are a few assets your town might have. What are other assets? natural resources – like scenic landscapes, waterfalls, rivers…

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Notes from Placemaking Conference for Small and Rural Communities

Pascagoula mural

I attended Placemaking in Small and Rural Communities online conference hosted by USDA and the University of Kentucky. It was all day, and I was able to attend most of the sessions. Enjoy this article that shares the tidbits I gathered. Why attend something like this? I work in rural communities and placemaking is vital…

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