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Old 03-10-2013, 08:09 PM
 
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A shame about those mills closing.

A mill back in Minnesota had an explosion last Memorial Day and one person got killed ( a nice guy who used to do ocassional skid loader work for me )

I believe the explosion was the " straw that broke the camel's back " as they decided to never re-open.

Really a shame as that mill had been there " forever" and was constantly added on and upgraded.
A lot of good paying jobs gone forever.

About 15 years ago, a smaller mill closed 30 miles up the Mississippi River from the Sartell mill.
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Old 03-14-2013, 03:24 PM
 
Location: Northern Wisconsin
9,333 posts, read 8,062,385 times
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Shrinkage of small rural towns has been going on since cars got better, roads got faster, farms got bigger and more mechanized, and the rural factories had to move closer to their customers, or at least where good transportation was available. You could move to a rural town if you had an interest business, were independently wealthy, won the lottery, retired or didn't care about being poor. Otherwise, its going to be pretty tough to make it. Factories have been abandoning rural areas also. They have a hard time attracting the kind of people they need to hire to make their products. Those people with talent, degrees, etc. don't want to live and work in the boondocks. Its just the way it is.

On top of that, good quality medical care is usually unavailable in small towns, the if you have kids, the schools are not going to be able to offer all the stuff a large school system can offer.
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Old 03-19-2013, 09:36 AM
 
756 posts, read 853,173 times
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It just depends I guess on various factors.Schertz used to be a small town at one time.However we have grown so much because the town sits between IH35 North to Austin and IH10 to the south of us.Our late mayor,,,,,Hal Baldwin did a lot to try to bring new businesses to our town. The whole area here is growing so much the school district wants to do a bond to fund new schools.We are getting a brand new huge Amazon distribution center sometime this fall.It should be open then. We have several interstates and rail services,though the old depot went out ages ago.We are close to Randolph AFB and San Antonio and Fort Sam Houston,,,so military retirees like the area.We have a good sized library and a new YMCA.There is a large park and a city pool.The city puts on various festivals throughout the year. There are also various doctor's offices and Northeast Methodist Hospital in Live Oak.The Baptist Hospital system has built an emergency hospital on Schertz parkway.You cross over IH-35 to get to it but it formally hasn't opend yet.
Austin isn;'t that far away and you can take the kids to several state parks in the area and also to Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels ,the famous waterpark.San Antonio has Six Flags Fiesta Texas ;the San Antonio Spurs Champion basketball team; Seaworld San Antonio; the zoo;botanical gardens and several museums. You can also drive to Fredricksburg to see the Chester A.Nimitz Muesum of the Pacific.The famous admiral was from there. Or you can drive to Austin and hang out on Sixth Street or drive to lockhart and Luling for bbq. Seguin our county seat also has medical services and things to do.

You can contrast that with Garden City in Glasscock County,Merzton in Loving County and Lipscomb in lipscomb County.
Very little are offered as far as eminities are concerned and work,,,,,unless you work for the county government or maybe ranch. Merzton is the only town in Loving County.lipscomb County does have some bigger towns that might offer something.Garden City is about 300 people and the other town St.Lawrence is pretty small.
Hereford in the Panhandle is about 14 or 15 thousand,,but offers medical care,,,,,recreation activities,,,, a bowling alley and movie theatre plus other things. One just has to think about where they are moving and what they want if they move to a small town.If you move to a county seat like say New Braunfels or Seguin you can get medical care and there are parks,,,,,,,,libraries;social services;etc. Or even a small town near a county seat that offers such things would be okay.
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:49 AM
 
Location: Upper Midwest
1,878 posts, read 3,785,455 times
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I live in an area full of small towns. I think it depends on the town itself and the town officials/business owners. Some places really put in an effort to maintain their little towns, and make them appealing to visitors and potential residents, I suppose. They really put an effort into personal flair and character. There are a lot of little towns in my area that fit that description. They're not dying off anytime soon. The residents are proud.

Then there are other small towns, where the people there could clearly care less. The town I lived in for the first six years of my life is a lot like that. Very small town. Today, I believe the population is something around 222. Not sure what the population was when I was small. Could be more, could be less. I wouldn't be surprised if it's decreased a little, given the current state of the town. I drove through there for nostalgia purposes a couple of years ago in Spring 2011. It was exciting driving through the woods for miles then coming around the curve and seeing the familiar bridge and church again. But what followed was a disappointment. The creek that ran through the town, I swear, has dried up tremendously. It's a shame. There's hardly any water left in it compared to when I was little. There are many run-down and vacant buildings in the town. The elementary school that I attended there is now closed, although the building still remains. The playground equipment is gone. That's where I had Kindergarten. The elementary-age kids are now bused to another tiny town, about 20-30 minutes away for school, just as the middle and high school kids have always been. There are some caretakers there, and when they saw me walking around the grounds, they did let me in to look around again, that was fun, I have to admit. Never thought I'd be in that place again.

Whoever the town officials are, they just don't seem to care. It's a shame, because it could be an adorable little town, really. It's got the cutest main street. Would be even cuter, with some upkeep, with an effort made to entice business into town. There's now a nice park on the edge of town. That's one positive addition. But overall, it's really a shame.
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:17 PM
 
797 posts, read 1,145,952 times
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Why are small towns dying?

Sometimes the residents should just look in the mirror.

My former hometown in rural Minnesota had the locker plant( meat processing ) / grocery store close.
No more fresh meat or grocery store in that town of 1100.

The people complaining the most about the town losing it are the folks who did not give him their business.

Next small town of 350-----------------locals complain the café closed. Several people have re-opened it and tried to make a go of it.
Seems the people complaining about no café seldom went there when there was one..

One guy wrote in the local paper how nice it would be if the café re-opened. He said he used to go down Saturday morning for a cup of coffee and a donut.

Selling a cup of coffee and a donut on just Saturday morning doesn't pay the bills.
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Old 03-20-2013, 02:15 PM
 
Location: Connecticut
274 posts, read 451,530 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Wolf View Post
Why are small towns dying?

Sometimes the residents should just look in the mirror.

My former hometown in rural Minnesota had the locker plant( meat processing ) / grocery store close.
No more fresh meat or grocery store in that town of 1100.

The people complaining the most about the town losing it are the folks who did not give him their business.

Next small town of 350-----------------locals complain the café closed. Several people have re-opened it and tried to make a go of it.
Seems the people complaining about no café seldom went there when there was one..

One guy wrote in the local paper how nice it would be if the café re-opened. He said he used to go down Saturday morning for a cup of coffee and a donut.

Selling a cup of coffee and a donut on just Saturday morning doesn't pay the bills.
I have been checking out a lot of small towns over the last few years and the towns that look like they are doing the best job at hanging on are the towns applying creative solutions to their problems.

Your example got me thinking of a couple things that look like they are working well in similar small towns. The towns set up a park in town and put in benches and picnic tables. They also made an area where someone can set up a food cart. This way a vendor can sell small amounts of coffee, donuts, sandwiches or other things without going bankrupt.

I have seen other small towns set up community centers with kiosks for vendors. The concept looked like they were combining a traditional community center with a micro-mini shopping mall. City wide garage sales and expanded farmers markets are also bringing more amenities at a more affordable price to small rural towns.

One little town I keep going back to online is Ogden, Iowa. It has a relatively stable population (about 2,000). They have a nice little park and a community center. There are a number of events that town puts on to make it a better place to live. To me that helps make up for it having very few businesses in town. Overall it just has the feeling of someplace I would like to live. It's on my list of places to check out when I hit the road.

Last edited by Rickd203; 03-20-2013 at 02:33 PM..
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:46 PM
 
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Towns like Ogden Iowa are luckier than some due to close proximity to a larger city, in this case Ames. Ames is only about a half hours drive away. I've been to Boone, I didn't really find the area very pretty. But then again I like more trees. Schertz has been part of the San Antonio metro for many, many years. Once it was a small town but its always had SA pretty darn close.

When I think of suffering towns I think of isolated places in southern central Missouri. When I was looking for a place, after a divorce, I called about a cheap house for sale down in that general area of Missouri. The gal was very nice but very honest, saying you will be picking up cans off the road to make money, as there were just no jobs. She sure talked me out of it. And I would think its worse now for the very tiny towns in large rural counties.
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:22 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
23,508 posts, read 41,098,828 times
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I work in rural economic development and have clients on both ends of the perspective. Failing and thriving.

Many factors; BUT the big driver is adaptive, innovative, HAPPY leadership.

Many towns accept the 'ingrown' stogy leadership that preaches, "same-ole, Same-ole". A Recipe for failure.

Defeatist attitude and losing the High School is tragic for most communities.

Those communities that embrace challenges and support each other and neighboring communities are the winners. One of the BEST things going is a REGIONAL economic development center to keep all individual towns heading with a uniform VOICE in a progressive direction. With correct direction and leadership, USDA RD takes note and $$ & support flow in. Our area was one of 7 in USA that piloted a USDA RD program this yr. Very helpful and we expect decent results. We are encouraged with lots of regional assets and diverse economy and opportunities. It is REALLY important to grow meaningful employment. This can happen !!!

Here is an example of our program.
Mid-Columbia Economic Development District

and others
Stronger Economies Together (SET) Program | Rural Community Building
http://srdc.msstate.edu/set/files/ov...p3_11_2012.pdf

Get in and HELP

Last edited by StealthRabbit; 03-20-2013 at 07:37 PM..
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:33 PM
 
742 posts, read 1,090,750 times
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sadly they are. I live in maine and its pretty rural through out the state, but you find a LOT of towns that had amazing period of industry, but most of them shut down, so you have lots of mill towns and such.

Hell one isolated town had an opera house!

Its kind of sad.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:03 AM
 
2,878 posts, read 3,927,056 times
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Small towns usually have a small pool of talent to draw on - speaking in a business or business innovation sense. In addition, most interests of people who would run a small town are very localized and often times, well, selfish. A lot of locals have a deep mistrust of outsiders. Most would prefer to "extract" money out of them without actually offering anything. Kind of like a plucking a chicken

Anyways, once outsiders do find interest in a small town, the town usually survives just fine. The problem then becomes gentrification - the small town is not or doesn't feel small anymore. The prices go up, taxes go up, asphalt goes everywhere etc.

Just like everything else in our country, it is a polarizing issue and it is also a black and white issue. Either the town lingers and dies or gets discovered and "ruined".

Climate and proximity to natural beauty are two determining factors. If rich people find these in a town, the town will survive, even if it is remote because there will always be local (greedy) developers willing to spend the money to provide the now ubiquitous "ranchettes". With that everything else follows. Note that it has to be true natural attraction - not what someone is trying to sell or have recognized as a natural attraction. Some developers have lost their shirts on the latter.

Shertz, TX is not a good example - it is a bedroom suburb to San Antonio or New Braunfels. Neither is Loving county - it is the least populated county in USA (or should I say, county with lowest population density). On top of that Loving county is in an area that has no attractors for anyone from the outside. What I would call a typical small town is something like Mountainair, New Mexico or Ft Davis, TX or even Alpine TX. Mountainair is in proximity to some natural beauty (but not as dramatic as, let;s say, Dubois, WY). Ft Davis and Alpine are small towns a few hours from Big Bend National Park. They cater to local ranchers and some people who want to live in an isolated area away from people. They are managing to survive due to a combination of history and location.

Land is NOT cheap in any town that is close to anything interesting. That automatically makes the small town impossible to live in for a lot of locals and they quickly get replaced or displaced by outsiders. Many of these locals were cash poor and land rich but after a good land sale they become cash rich too. In a small town that is close to nothing, land is cheap and people are poor.

Unlike Europe where Internet is a utility and governments mandate that it be spread EVERYWHERE and reach EVERYONE with good speed, in United States it is a business and if there is no profit for the telecom, most small towns don't have it or the offering is poor in terms of quality or speed. So, a small town would not attract a professional like me to live there and work from home, for example. I live in a small town in the Texas Hill Country, 40 miles SW of Austin, it has grown and it is a tourist attraction, by no means dying, quite the opposite. Just a few miles outside of town limits our only internet offerings are satellite (can't do work over that) or wireless (up and down, slow most of the time, shared with everyone and their mother) - can't do work over that. My company lets me work from home 3 days a week - but most of the time I have to drive into town or the next small town to a coffee shop to do the work - which makes it a moot point - if I am already out and dressed up I might as well go to the office..

Something else. When I lived in Missouri, we lived in a small town half way between Kansas City and St Louis. By I-70 it was 2.5 hours drive from each - obviously not a commute opportunity. I thought the best thing for that town would be a high-speed rail. Be in Kansas City or St Louis within the hour and boom - all of a sudden the town is no longer dying. When I mentioned that to someone they said: a) Americans love their cars and b) there would be not enough people to pay for the rail. I wonder if people said the same thing b) about the highway system and before it was built. To me it is a chicken and an egg problem. If people knew they had high speed internet and fast rail close to their town to get to a city within a reasonable time, they would start moving back...

OD
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