Partnership in the News: High School Initiative Turns Into Community Effort For Howard, South Dakota

What began as a high school study of the local economy in Howard, South Dakota has turned into a community revitalization effort that has sparked growth again in a declining rural community, reports an article published today in the Daily Yonder.

After nearly 15 years of work, Howard has become a poster child of community resolve. And it all began at the high school, building on an imaginative and intensely practical assignment…The town had lost nearly a hundred local businesses between 1960 and 1999. Farm production was declining. And young people, without prospects, were moving away.

Despite its ambitions and success, Howard, like most rural communities, is struggling to maintain its vitality… the town’s population actually declined, according to Census figures, from 2000 to 2010, yet… levels of educational attainment, employment and per capita income are up, and the age of residents in Miner County (once the oldest county in the state) is younger than it was ten years ago.

Howard, South Dakota was featured as a model community in the 2011 Partnership for Sustainable Communities’ Report Supporting Sustainable Rural Communities. Additionally, Howard was the recipient of the 2011 EPA Smart Growth Achievement Award for Maroney Commons, a mixed-use development project.

For more information on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities visit