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Celebrating REtail, Accommodations, Tourism and Entertainment by

Building Rural Innovations and Developing Growth Economies

 

OVERVIEW

The Southern Rural Development Center (SRDC) has secured funding from Walmart to expand CREATE BRIDGES, a pilot program centered on strengthening retail, accommodations, tourism, and entertainment industries which have been notably impacted by COVID-19 and often make up a large portion of the jobs and businesses that drive rural economies. The SRDC will collaborate on Phase II of this initiative with three Land-Grant University (LGU) partners: New Mexico State University, North Carolina State University, and University of Illinois. Community and Economic Development specialists from each university, Dr. Michael Patrick (NM), Becky Bowen (NC), and Susan Odom (IL), will lead the project team in their respective states to pilot a process to help rural communities strengthen their retail sector.

The initiative, Create Bridges: Celebrating Retail, Accommodations, Tourism, and Entertainment by Building Rural Innovations and Developing Growth Economies, is built upon the SRDC-led Stronger Economies Together (SET) initiative, a collaborative effort across 32 states that helps rural counties work together to develop and implement an economic development plan for their multi-county region. Built in partnership with USDA Rural Development, the nation’s four Regional Rural Development Centers, and LGU partners, SET will serve as a building block for this new initiative.



Data & Resources


Phase Two Materials



Phase II Team

Becky Bowen

Becky Bowen

NC State University
Susan Jakes

Susan Jakes

NC State University
Michael Patrick

Michael Patrick

New Mexico State University
Susan Odum

Susan Odum

University of Illinois



Phase I Team

Alison Davis

Dr. Alison Davis

University of Kentucky
Stacey McCullough

Dr. Stacey McCullough

University of Arkansas System
Sara Seims

Saras Siems

Oklahoma State University
Rachel Welborn

Rachel Welborn

Southern Rural Development Center