Revitalizing rural hometowns is easy as A-B-C-D, according to a program director at the Center for Rural Affairs in Walthill, Nebraska about 20 miles south of Sioux City. Michael Holton says ABCD stands for Asset-Based Community Development.He explains outside plans for development aren’t the best because every town’s strengths and characteristics are unique. Holton says Iowa communities have been the biggest users so far of the Center’s Asset-Based Community Development. One community that had youth as an asset created a Youth City Council. Holton says one key is finding a town’s “hidden leaders.”It’s not the people you often think of like the chamber and council members, it’s the folks sitting at a kitchen table who know what would work but hesitate to speak up in a public forum. Holton says the “multiplier effect” of money spent in a community can add a tremendous amount of vitality if they get people to shop in their hometowns.People are surprised to find how much money’s being taken out to spend in a big city nearby when they could spend it in their own town. The website’s www.cfra.org or you can call Holton at (402) 846-5428.
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