Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to

Friday, December 29, 2006

#3 Reason Community Development is Hard to Do

Understanding Community Gate Keepers

by Michael Holton, Center for Rural Affairs - editors note... brought to you by "popular" demand...

Rural communities are made up of a social group called the gate keepers. This may prove to be one of the most difficult aspects of community development in small rural towns.

Gate keepers are usually people who have lived in the community for years, often clear back to the time when small rural communities were thriving. They made a living and prospered while raising their children. The community was and is still good to them. They do not want to see new community development come in and take away what they have acquired.

These people often resist big changes with statements like, “We don’t need that!” or “It was good enough for me when I was growing up.” The key to dealing with the gate keeper plight is to involve them from the beginning in the discussion and work.

Agree? Disagree? Post a question here or contact John Crabtree,

Center for Rural Affairs
Values. Worth. Action.


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