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Sustainable Successes

Lee Nellis

I am seeking examples of reasonably successful, or at least hopeful, genuinely sustainable economic development efforts in the US that were sponsored, or in some significant way, supported by a rural local government (city, town, county, tribe, COG). My definition of success is that a project takes a local resource or amenity and either uses it in a new way, or adds new value, in a way that creates better incomes for local people, captures formerly lost trade, or in some other way adds to the quality or strength of the local economy. I am not interested in cases where people think another truck stop or strip mall is actually economic development. Cyburbians help will be appreciated!


Hi Lee,
This is such a good question. I'm sorry that I'm answering late and that you haven't heard from others. The EDA is your best hope. They support great projects and write them up annually. If you need more information on the Colo. district office, e-mail me.

peter lowitt

Hello Lee
Good question. I attended a great session at the APA conference on agriculture and economic development. Jim Segedy, guru of the Small Town and Rural Planning Division went into a number of sustainable small town development examples, including agritainment - i.e., a petting zoo along with the farmstand. If that doesn't get you going, the folks who grow corn and design mazes with it (no pun intended... look up the Davis Farm Maze on the web which is located just down the road from me. ) One program you may want to look into is Sustainable Londonderry (NH) which I initiated, its more suburban but may provide some ideas for you. I presented on it at the APA conference in Boston a few years back, so its on the conference proceedings CD APA distributes folks who attend the national conference. That should get you started.