We wrap up the first season of Save Our Towns with a look at Buchanan, Virginia, and its Hokie connections. The town is now renowned as one of the best places in the United States to buy antiques, but once had a less-than-stellar reputation. The team reached out to Virginia Tech’s Community Design Assistance Center for help. One of the students working on the project, Harry Gleason, stuck around to serve in a newly created position as revitalization manager, a job he has held for two decades. Meanwhile, we meet another Virginia Tech grad, Mary Zirkle, who now serves as the Buchanan town manager, in our three questions segment.
In the St. Paul update, we see how the town’s willingness to do its own heavy lifting–in this case, a lake-dredging project–saved tens of thousands of dollars.
For this month’s expert tip, John Accordino of the VCU Center for Urban and Regional Development reminds towns that focusing on their strengths is the first step to economic improvement. Meanwhile, Sam Cook, professor of American Indian Studies at Virginia Tech, warns against towns becoming dependent on a single industry.