Can small towns in Southwest Virginia learn from their neighbors to the south? Save Our Towns asks that question in its latest episode, visiting Blowing Rock, North Carolina – “the Crown of the Blue Ridge” – for its Example of Awesome story.

When it comes to success, location is key for the town of Blowing Rock. Situated just two miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock has leveraged its proximity to the scenic route to attract tourists.

In this month’s episode, Save Our Towns also checks in with Cleveland, the town it is following for a year. On the Clinch River, this town of 178 residents was able to attract a new business, GRIP Outdoor, beating out 30 other towns in Southwest Virginia.

Save Our Towns is a series of monthly video episodes designed for mayors in small-town Appalachian Virginia and other leaders who are working hard to improve their communities.

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The episode's expert tip comes from Melissa Kramer of the Environmental Protection Agency, who outlines some of the ways the agency provides technical assistance, including funding for clean water infrastructure.

Also highlighted in this month’s episode is the research of C.L. Bohannon, professor of landscape architecture in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, who focuses on community-engaged design. The Virginia Cooperative Extension program showcased is the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program run by Jennifer Gagnon through the College of Natural Resources and Environment.

The Save Our Towns internet series, produced by Outreach and International Affairs, won two national communications awards in 2016. 

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