Millinocket, Maine epitomizes the plight of many rural communities across the country that struggle as legacy industries or major employers that once helped sustain a place slow down or close altogether. Millinocket has found new hope in part by pairing improved broadband internet access with a new focus on downtown revitalization, giving the community the chance to take hold of their future and “actually build something” new.
Many rural communities in America have been struggling as the economy has changed dramatically over the last few decades, but some of these communities are evolving and finding new ways to adapt. This is a story of how one small mountain town in northeast Tennessee has found new economic opportunity by investing in reliable, high-speed broadband internet to catalyze new growth and development focused in their walkable, historic downtown.
As expected, President Trump used his first State of the Union Address Tuesday night as an opportunity to discuss infrastructure. The speech was light on specifics, though the Washington Post and other outlets continue to report that the White House is preparing a full plan to be released in a few weeks.
(Image courtesy of Alta Planning + Design)
Successful implementation of Complete Streets requires much more than a one-size-fits-all approach. Rural and small towns often face distinct challenges from urban areas when it comes to improving the conditions for people walking and bicycling. The National Complete Streets Coalition recently spoke with Andrea Clinkscales, Senior Planner at Alta, to learn about some of the obstacles smaller communities may face, along with potential solutions to implementing Complete Streets.
The 2017 Federal Financing Toolkit features 90 federal financing opportunities that are designed to help real estate developers and investors as well as local elected officials achieve their development goals.
Earlier this year we joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Appalachian Regional Commission to start delivering Cool & Connected technical assistance, a workshop series designed to help rural communities find new economic opportunities by leveraging investments in broadband, or reliable, high-speed internet access.
In late April Smart Growth America released three new toolkits for smart growth in rural places. Our Community Facilities Location toolkit helps communities make the most of new facilities like hospitals or post offices. Our Well-Placed Affordable Housing toolkit looks at creating centrally located housing infrastructure. And our Fiscal Impact Analysis toolkit looks at how local government can better understand the long-term financial implications of decisions about new development.
In rural places, a smart growth approach can mean putting a new post office near the elementary school, creating more affordable homes near jobs, or analyzing the long-term financial impact of development decisions.
Rural communities across the country have abundant natural beauty and a heritage of hard work. By bridging the gap in broadband capabilities, these communities are creating a new resource for their current residents and making themselves more competitive in the national economy.
This post was originally published by Megan McConville, Senior Policy Advisor to the Rural Housing Service Administrator on the USDA blog. How will decisions about where we locate new development or upgrade existing infrastructure impact our future economic vitality and fiscal health? How can we site and plan public facilities and housing so they have the … Continued