A new book,Total Town Makeover
, highlights examples of small towns that are thriving and offers ideas for how other towns can also nurture growing local economies and vibrant communities.
Author Andrew McCrea is no stranger to small-town life. A fifth-generation rancher and farmer in northwestern Missouri, he’s also the host of award-winning radio show “The American Countryside.” In his book, McCrea offers practical tips for improvement that range from broad, policy-based notions to smaller, everyday suggestions, Sara Schaferreports
- Does your town have an endowment or other sources of funding to provide seed money for projects or matching funds for grants? Just as a person needs a savings account, endowments serve much the same purpose for a community.
- Do you have a group leading the way, or are separate groups pulling in different directions? Try to form a coordinating group or clearly define what each individual group hopes to accomplish.
- Does the community have short- and long-term goals? Have they been written down and shared? People want to have an idea of the vision before they buy in.
- Are you using newspapers and social media to communicate? Provide progress updates. Show pictures. Build momentum. Social media allows you to connect with people who might not live nearby but have a connection to the town and will support your efforts.
- Improve the town’s culture by making a commitment to smile more and compliment and praise others. It might be a specific person or group that lead the way in building a positive and proactive culture.
It’s important for small towns to thrive, McCrea told Schafer. “There’s more than hope residing in rural America . . . There are qualities in these areas that can’t be experienced anywhere else. Qualities worth preserving not for the sake of nostalgia but for the sake of a better future for all.”