Interesting website of Auburn University: Development Strategies for a Rural Alabama
This website deals with the current situation of rural Alabama, points out strategies for economic improvement, and warns of a "The Crisis in Rural Alabama." Very much worth a read.
Ironically, it takes several minutes to download over a high-speed connection, and requires Acrobat reader. So, few rural residents will be able to read it. Which is sad because it's a great document and features many great photos of rural Alabama as well.
Rural communities throughout the South have struggled for decades – and still struggle – to provide jobs, good schools, quality health care, adequate infrastructure, and an improved quality of life. Some states and communities have done a better job of addressing these issues than others. We highlight a few of these stories.
The typical small farmer now derives a majority of his income off the farm. Even larger farms usually have at least one family member with a job “in town” to provide access to medical and other benefits. The slow death of family farming has had devastating effects on Alabama’s rural communities. With the loss of farm income, rural communities witnessed the exodus of the grain dealers, gins, restaurants, insurance companies, feed stores, chemical companies, banks and other businesses that were the backbone of their local economies. Gone also were tax revenues that funded rural schools, hospitals, highways, libraries, and all the other facets of life needed for a healthy community.
Some of the many examples in the document include Andalusia's Henderson Sewing Machine company, and Eufaula's successful strategic plan which includes preserving its environmental resources and reviving its farmer's market.
Some of the recommendations in the article are: Create an Alabama Rural Development Council - Create a position/office in state government that focuses exclusively on rural development. - Implement a regional economic and community development strategy and program. - Support the Alabama Communities of Excellence (ACE) Program - Upgrade the rural technology infrastructure - Support Interstate highway expansions in rural Alabama - and more.
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