Three communities were recently chosen in a national study as examples of how to leaders can help small towns thrive and maintain their level of success and one of those three happens to be the community of downtown Laramie, WY.

Laramie, along with Emporia, KS, and Wheeling, WV were chosen as the focus of the study which highlighted that each of those communities knew how to leverage their own unique assets. Despite certain stereotypes that may attempt to prematurely label small towns, Laramie showed that it was a thriving community that could overcome such labels.

Director of Research for the National Main Street Center Michael Powe talked about the misconception of small towns:

A lot of portrayals out there kind of paint rural places or small towns as monolithic...Largely dependent on traditional or extractive industries. It's a stereotype that they're places that are sort of in decline or doomed to decline.

Such assets that downtown Laramie and the surrounding community were able to showcase throughout the national study were further explained by Laramie Main Street Director Trey Sherwood:

We had people go out and walk the boundaries of the district and go through the alleys, and make note of like, wow, nobody else has a footbridge like we have. Nobody else has this mixture of, like, railroad history and higher education history...What you see on the street today is homage to our railroad history, our love of the outdoors, our wildlife...And so those pieces, they become not only functional bike racks, but a narrative to let people know who we are as a community

The Rural Resilience Study also highlighted the fact that Laramie has been a great setting for entrepreneurs as they dig in to grow their business and/or enterprise before expanding.

Sherwood also mentioned the importance of creating a community in a town for those that already love and live in that community, which is moving away from the 'build it and they will come' theme. It seems that in Laramie, the people there have laid the groundwork for the town to thrive and continue to succeed.

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