A Mississippi community plugs into internet to power up downtown


Natchez, Mississippi has never been connected to the interstate highway system. But today, with help from Smart Growth America, the city is revitalizing its historic downtown and also working to connect to the rest of the world through a newer medium: high-speed, broadband internet. 

Economic development Rural Development Technical assistance

An Alabama city grapples with its development decisions


Atmore—a rural city in southern Alabama—is poised to make some key land use decisions that will have a great impact on both its long-term economic prosperity and its fiscal health. To grapple with these choices, the city partnered with Smart Growth America to gain a better understand their impact.

Economic development Rural Development Technical assistance

Connecting rural economies to the speed of broadband

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.

Technical assistance

Working together to develop local strategies for strong rural communities

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

Technical assistance

New Resource: USDA Releases Guide to Federal Programs for Rural Communities

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently published Federal Resources for Sustainable Rural Communities; a guide to programs available to help rural areas promote economic development and enhance quality of life.

The publication, a joint effort of the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities,

Compiles all of the federal resources that can support rural communities in their efforts to promote economic competitiveness, protect healthy environments, modernize infrastructure, and provide services to residents. The guide has key information on funding and technical assistance opportunities available from the four agencies, as well as examples of how rural communities across the country have benefitted from federal resources.

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Partnership in the News: Agencies Participate in USDA Rural Roundtable Discussion

The Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Office recently held a roundtable discussion in Ogden, Iowa with local residents and representatives from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency’s field offices. Bill Menner, the USDA Director of Rural Development for Iowa, described the roundtable in his blog on March 16th as, “A great opportunity to talk with rural residents, business owners, and leaders about the issues facing their communities – and the opportunities that exist.”

It was also an opportunity to speak with Steve Eggleston, HUD’s Iowa and Nebraska Field Office Director, and David Doyle, Sustainable Communities Coordinator for EPA Region 7; continuing the collaboration between USDA and Partnership agencies.

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Funding Opportunity: Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge

Four federal agencies are offering $15 million in funding to spur economic growth in rural areas. The approximately 20 regions to receive funding will also be eligible for technical assistance resources from an additional nine agencies. From the U.S. Department of Agriculture announcement:

Funds awarded to the winning applicants can be used to support and accelerate a range of projects including improving rural communities’ capacity and ability to undertake projects related to housing, community facilities, or economic and community development along with creation of regional linkages that connect communities with innovation clusters and regional opportunities leading to job creation, expanded markets, and economic growth.

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Report: Supporting Sustainable Rural Communities

Rural communities and small towns across the U.S. are interested in making smarter investments for their economic recovery. Communities have unequivocally shown that smart practices in housing, infrastructure and transportation will save local, state and federal government significant sums. Small businesses and family farms benefit from strategic local investments too, because smarter short-term decisions mean a stronger regional economy for the future.

The Partnership for Sustainable Communities – a collaboration between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Department of Transportation – works to help communities achieve these goals. The Partnership along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture has released a new report on how the agencies are collaborating to support rural communities.

“Supporting Sustainable Rural Communities” (PDF) highlights how rural communities and small towns are using resources from these federal agencies to strengthen their economies, provide better quality of life to residents, and build on local assets such as traditional main streets, agricultural lands, and natural resources.

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$66 million available from USDA, EPA, and U.S. Department of Commerce

The EPA State and Local Climate and Energy program brings us a round up of available federal funding for state, local, and tribal governments: *** USDA Rural Community Development Initiative – $6.3 million Application Due: December 22, 2010 Eligible Entities: State governments, local governments, Indian tribes, non-profit organizations, and others The U.S. Department of Agriculture … Continued

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