Saturday, January 07, 2012

Va. coal town turns to higher education for growth, puts a Walmart on top of downtown parking garage

After decades of decline in the local coal industry, Grundy, Va., has become home to a redeveloped and flood-protected downtown and, most notably, two professional schools -- and is about to get another, Brad Parke reports for the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues and The Rural Blog. (Yahoo! map)

"Suffering a substantial outmigration, especially of young adults, local leaders are looking elsewhere for ways to establish sustainable economic development," Parke writes. "The steep topography and narrow valleys have contributed to several detrimental floods that devastated its downtown. Leaders knew they had to tame these waters for the downtown to remain viable and realize its potential, but realized they ultimately had to take a new approach: higher education."

In 1997, the Appalachian School of Law opened in Grundy. In 2005 came the Appalachian College of Pharmacy. And in 2013 the Appalachian College of Optometry is scheduled to open.

Recent improvements include "a floodwall topped by a four-lane highway bypass replacing a winding, two-lane road," Parke reports, and across the river is "the Grundy Town Center, which includes a new Walmart. The steep topography forced an innovative approach. The Walmart, which opened in September 2011, sits atop a two-level parking garage, enabling developers to avoid using the limited available flat land for a conventional parking lot."

"Similar rural communities should take note of this town’s innovative approach to development," writs Parke, a student at the law school. "If ultimately successful, Grundy may become not only a model for strategic economic diversification in Appalachia, but rural America." (Read more)

1 comment:

How to Start a Business said...

Education will always play a big role in the growth of a country. Countries should make sure that their education quality is standard.