Save Our Towns video

You’re the mayor of a small Appalachian town. The loss of coal, tobacco, textile and other manufacturing revenue generators has put your town on the decline. The role you play in shaping the economic future of your town cannot be overstated. Natural beauty, culture, craft, music, and outdoor recreation – all are just a few good reasons you can shape your town for the future. But how? That’s where Save Our Towns comes in, a monthly Internet video series designed to guide and inspire leaders like you who are working hard to build strong communities.

Presented by Virginia Tech, Save Our Towns is an award-winning program offering you a direct line to leaders throughout Appalachia – as well as the state – who share your vision for building a town for the future. Every episode is packed with insight from local and state experts who offer advice on how to attract resources to your town, as well as mayors who share what they have done right – or wrong – so you can learn from them.

Overhead view of Main Street in Galax, Virginia.

In addition, each 10-minute episode follows a small town, chronicled in a “reality show” segment over the course of each season. During the first season, Kyle Fletcher, mayor of the town of St. Paul, gave viewers a fascinating inside view of how the efforts of his feisty town may provide solutions for growth and prosperity. Subsequent seasons followed the progress of the towns of Pearisburg and Cleveland, as town leaders worked to improve their respective communities.

Each episode of Save Our Towns also features a segment called Examples of Awesome, in which field reporters – often Virginia Tech students – share stories from towns in Southwest Virginia that recognize and celebrate successes in the region.

Save Our Towns is designed to be interactive. Ask questions. Share your successes and challenges for discussion on future episodes, and connect with other leaders via the Save Our Towns website. Here you’ll find a more in-depth look, complete with interview transcripts, contact information for the experts, and links to resources, as well as additional background and follow-up data on the stories featured in each episode.