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Using Historic & Cultural Resources to Build Sustainable Rural Communities

Full Resource: Asset Based Economic Development and Building Sustainable Rural Communities, Part 3: Existing Infrastructure, Historic and Cultural Resources

Source: ICMA

Author: Anna Read

This report examines how improving existing infrastructure and capitalizing on historic cultural resources can revitalize a rural community’s economy. 

The report features Silver City, New Mexico as an example of a Main Street that became vibrant with activity and culture after being vacant and dilapidated after flooding. The town created a successful Main Street program that leveraged millions in public and private investment. The program led to the creation of 150 jobs, the rehabilitation of 151 buildings, and an Art and Cultural District Plan that made a commitment to increasing the “importance of the arts to the local economy.”  

The report also highlights Lindsborg, Kansas, a small town that capitalized on its heritage and customs rooted in Swedish culture. The town’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau worked to market the city’s cultural heritage, which has resulted in a positive impact on the city’s quality of life, tourism industry, as well as their tax revenue. 

Overall, this report provides lessons learned from municipalities who successfully capitalized off their existing infrastructure and historic and cultural amenities to benefit their communities.

This is the third paper of a three-part series of briefing papers recently published by ICMA on Asset-Based Economic Development and Building Sustainable Rural Communities.

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