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5 Keys to Small Town Success
It’s About Resilience, Not Growth
Small Town Forums
2015
Trends
People
moving
from small
towns and
rural areas
to metro
areas
Trends
Other issues facing small towns
Resiliency
Community resilience is a measure of
the sustained ability of a community to
utilize available resources to res...
Resiliency
The Keys, Please….
Leverage
Ever feel like you are ready to reach
new heights, but you don’t have the
assets you need to get the job done?
Leverage
Using leverage to balance assets and
needs
Knowledge
Skills
Volunteers
Grants
Financing
Leverage
Methods:
1. Community inventory and
associations
2. Establish networks, linkages &
channels
3. Keep the network a...
Leverage Example – Potosi, WI
Population - 689
Spatial Relationships
Maximizing benefits of spatial relationships
Density, Proximity, Space & Connections
Spatial Relationships
Methods:
1. Use your Comprehensive Plan and
Zoning Ordinance to ensure
activated space is tightly cl...
Spatial Relationships
Bottom Line:
Increased Interactions =
Opportunities (income, employment, business)
Innovation & Crea...
Spatial Relationships Example –
Mazomanie, WI
Spatial Relationships Example –
Mazomanie, WI
Collaboration
Regional
Cross-sector
Public-Private
Private-Private
Collaboration
Successful Collaboration:
• Shared Perception of Need
• Collaborative Leadership
• Trust
• Mutual Benefit
• ...
Collaboration
Obstacles to Collaboration:
• Turf Protection
• Competition for Growth
• Historic Rivalry
• Perceived Loss o...
Collaboration
Methods:
1. Meet with your regional peers, major
institutions and organizations. If a
business, meet with yo...
Collaboration Example – The
Marketplace, Gays Mills
Community Health
Physical,
Mental, &
Social
Well-being
Community Health
Methods:
1. Ensure access to healthcare & fresh
food
2. Multi-modal linkages to all community
destination...
Community Health Example –
LIFE Foundation, Cross Plains, WI
LIFE Foundation – 5 Year Strategic
Objectives
Wellness Centered: Community Wellness
Fitness Center
Trails Prevail: Ice Age...
To School & Back: The Walking School
Bus, The Bike Train, Paint the Bike Lane
Rethink Your Drink: A choose water
campaign
...
Support Local
• Local Business
• Local Non-Profits
& Foundations
• Local Initiatives
• Volunteers
• Community
Leaders
Support Local
Methods:
1. On-going community awareness
2. Matchmaking programs - volunteers
with community needs, local bu...
Support Local Example – Central
Rivers Farmshed, Stevens Point, WI
Central Wisconsin Farm Fresh
Atlas™ showcasing the best...
Support Local Example – Central
Rivers Farmshed, Stevens Point, WI
Conclusion
• Focus on resilience before growth
• Leverage assets and resources
• Pay attention to spatial relationships
• ...
Thank You!
Gary Becker
Vierbicher
gbec@vierbicher.com
Local Government Institute of Wisconsin
Exec_dir@localgovinstitute.o...
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Small Town Forums, hosted by U.W. - Extension, USDA Rural Development, Wisconsin Downtown Action Council, Wisconsin Rural Partners, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.; four locations - Elroy, Green Lake, Hammond and Mercer.

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For small rural communities, resilience may be a better strategy than growth.

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Small Town Forums, hosted by U.W. - Extension, USDA Rural Development, Wisconsin Downtown Action Council, Wisconsin Rural Partners, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.; four locations - Elroy, Green Lake, Hammond and Mercer.

  1. 1. 5 Keys to Small Town Success It’s About Resilience, Not Growth Small Town Forums 2015
  2. 2. Trends People moving from small towns and rural areas to metro areas
  3. 3. Trends Other issues facing small towns
  4. 4. Resiliency Community resilience is a measure of the sustained ability of a community to utilize available resources to respond to, withstand, and recover from adverse situations.
  5. 5. Resiliency
  6. 6. The Keys, Please….
  7. 7. Leverage Ever feel like you are ready to reach new heights, but you don’t have the assets you need to get the job done?
  8. 8. Leverage Using leverage to balance assets and needs Knowledge Skills Volunteers Grants Financing
  9. 9. Leverage Methods: 1. Community inventory and associations 2. Establish networks, linkages & channels 3. Keep the network activated 4. Bring support together as needed
  10. 10. Leverage Example – Potosi, WI Population - 689
  11. 11. Spatial Relationships Maximizing benefits of spatial relationships Density, Proximity, Space & Connections
  12. 12. Spatial Relationships Methods: 1. Use your Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance to ensure activated space is tightly clustered. 2. Consider acquiring vacant property. 3. Ensure that the destinations within your community are connected with both paths and good roads.
  13. 13. Spatial Relationships Bottom Line: Increased Interactions = Opportunities (income, employment, business) Innovation & Creativity Public Health Capacity
  14. 14. Spatial Relationships Example – Mazomanie, WI
  15. 15. Spatial Relationships Example – Mazomanie, WI
  16. 16. Collaboration Regional Cross-sector Public-Private Private-Private
  17. 17. Collaboration Successful Collaboration: • Shared Perception of Need • Collaborative Leadership • Trust • Mutual Benefit • Stakeholder Support
  18. 18. Collaboration Obstacles to Collaboration: • Turf Protection • Competition for Growth • Historic Rivalry • Perceived Loss of Identity, Access, Reduced Control and Accountability, Threat to Status Quo
  19. 19. Collaboration Methods: 1. Meet with your regional peers, major institutions and organizations. If a business, meet with your competitors. 2. Establish a schedule of regular meetings and a standing agenda. 3. Seek out common cause, share information and find reasons to work together.
  20. 20. Collaboration Example – The Marketplace, Gays Mills
  21. 21. Community Health Physical, Mental, & Social Well-being
  22. 22. Community Health Methods: 1. Ensure access to healthcare & fresh food 2. Multi-modal linkages to all community destinations 3. Physical activity infrastructure – parks, recreation programs, clubs, employers 4. Make health a shared community value
  23. 23. Community Health Example – LIFE Foundation, Cross Plains, WI
  24. 24. LIFE Foundation – 5 Year Strategic Objectives Wellness Centered: Community Wellness Fitness Center Trails Prevail: Ice Age Trail, Good Neighbor Trail, Conservancy Trails Fitness First: Individual adapted health through fitness classes Empower Social Support: Empower Kids, Adults & Employees; Healthy Lifestyle Programs / Step Up Walking Club
  25. 25. To School & Back: The Walking School Bus, The Bike Train, Paint the Bike Lane Rethink Your Drink: A choose water campaign Know the Code 5210: Vegetables, screen time, exercise Gardens Grow: Gardens – Community, Home, Preschool, Senior; Farmer’s Markets, CSAs LIFE Foundation – 5 Year Strategic Objectives
  26. 26. Support Local • Local Business • Local Non-Profits & Foundations • Local Initiatives • Volunteers • Community Leaders
  27. 27. Support Local Methods: 1. On-going community awareness 2. Matchmaking programs - volunteers with community needs, local buyers with local suppliers, funding needs with local donors/crowd-funding 3. Stagger/combine local initiatives 4. Appreciate community leaders
  28. 28. Support Local Example – Central Rivers Farmshed, Stevens Point, WI Central Wisconsin Farm Fresh Atlas™ showcasing the best in local farms and food in Central Wisconsin Salvation Army Hope Center Meals Each month volunteers source and donate ingredients and prepare a meal, ensuring that those in-need have access to fresh, local foods. Farmer Tribute Dinner invites producers to dine on a locally sourced meal in celebration of the harvest. Community members attend and sponsor the farmers meal as a tribute to their hard work. Local Food Fair brings together producers, consumers, local businesses, and educators to celebrate community and the food that’s grown within it.
  29. 29. Support Local Example – Central Rivers Farmshed, Stevens Point, WI
  30. 30. Conclusion • Focus on resilience before growth • Leverage assets and resources • Pay attention to spatial relationships • Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate • Stay healthy – physically, mentally & socially • Support local businesses, schools, initiatives, farmers…….
  31. 31. Thank You! Gary Becker Vierbicher gbec@vierbicher.com Local Government Institute of Wisconsin Exec_dir@localgovinstitute.org www.localgovinstitute.org

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