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Eight Town Center for Economic Development

The Need

From May through September 2017, Rural Commonwealth conducted on-the-ground research and spent more than 40 hours interviewing local business leaders to develop a list of concrete, meaningful economic development opportunities that could be undertaken in Western Franklin County. This list was included in our October 2017 Western Franklin County Business Report, which concluded with this observation:

“We have surveyed innovation centers in several states. While this concept is popular and has many uses, the sparsity of population in West County calls for a multi-use facility. Rather than just an innovation center, West County needs a large, flexible space for innovation; gatherings of business people; and new tools for production, marketing, and distribution. Rather than be tied down to a single concept, West County needs a space that can change with the times and meet future needs.”

Rural Commonwealth is most happy to welcome Robert W. Herdt as an advisor to the Center. Bob received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Cornell University and his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Minnesota.


Next Steps

We have identified a potential site for this center and currently are pursuing a feasibility study for this location. The award-winning team at LineSync Architects provided more than 60 hours of pro bono services for the first phase of this project.

This winter, we need to raise $10,000 for the second phase, which will include engaging LineSync to prepare the following essential materials:

  • Schematic drawing pricing set (plan, exterior elevations with material designations, building sections)
  • Specifications outline
  • Rendering

We have raised $2000 toward this goal so far. If you would like to help with this fundraising effort, please contact a Rural Commonwealth director:

Toby Gould
toby.gould @

Beth Bandy
beth.bandy @

Thank you in advance for your support of this important rural economic development project.