Eight Great American Small Town Comebacks
Recently, CNN Travel highlighted some great comeback stories – small towns who faced daunting odds, leaking revenue and vacant buildings, but through the work of some hard working champions, managed to turn the tide.
At Roger Brooks International, this is what we do, what we love, what we live for. There’s nothing we love more than a great success story. We’ve helped thousands of communities like these (and even worked with some of the CNN highlights!); watched them start at the ground level and make things happen. Despite seemingly insurmountable challenges, communities can stage a comeback and go from a dwindling downtown to a vibrant, thriving destination.
Here are eight great comeback towns:
1. Coronado, California
Once a famous escape for the rich and famous, Coronado declined in the late 20th century, suffering from 35% vacancy along historic Orange Avenue. Now Coronado, decked out with streets lined with flowers and fully restored classical revival-style buildings, has transformed into a vibrant resort community drawing a steady stream of visitors.
2. Paducah, Kentucky
The commercial district of Paducah was riddled with crime and had a 70% vacancy rate in the commercial center in the 1980s. Now Paducah is known for using the arts to stimulate revitalization. With more than $100 million in investment, the town boasts a highly successful artist relocation program and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The now-vibrant community attracts more than $200 million in annual tourist income.
3. New Iberia, Louisiana
New Iberia has a long history, dating back to the late 1700s. The main street had become devoid of life, with boarded up storefronts and a decaying theater. Today, New Iberia is home to a revitalized downtown featuring Cajun dining, new shops and a beautifully restored theater.
4. Frederick, Maryland
Originally a colonial-era city, then a hospice for Civil War casualties, Frederick was hit with massive flooding in the 1970s that turned much of its historic downtown into a temporary swamp, and was later bypassed by a new interstate. Today, the city boasts a beautiful red-brick commercial district with restaurants and shops, and nary a chain store in sight.
5. Ely, Nevada
Ely started out as a Pony Express station in remote Nevada and boomed in the 20th century with mining. When the copper market crashed in the 1970s, the town crashed with it. Today, copper and gold mining are back, but Ely has become a sought after weekend escape.
6. DeLand, Florida
By the 1980s, the once beautiful Victorian inspired community had declined, with 75% vacancy downtown. Now, the town has revived to include shops, restaurants and museums as well as a restored art deco Athens Theater, Artisan Alley and an award-wining Garden District.
7. Libertyville, Illinois
Originally a bedroom community for the rich of Chicago, Libertyville declined in the mid-20th century. An attempt at revitalization took place in the 1960s, but the modernization projects were poorly conceived and led to a greater decline than ever. Today Libertyville is alive with shops, restaurants, and a great microbrewery, drawing people from the surrounding area.
8. El Dorado, Arkansas
An oil rush in the 1920s brought 30,000 people to El Dorado, but the prosperity was short lived and after the Great Depression the city suffered what seemed to be perpetual hardship. Today, there have been mass restorations, a new $14.4 million conference facility and a host of annual events and festivals. El Dorado is vibrant and thriving once again.
Note: Link to article http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/11/travel/comeback-towns