Rural planners from Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina met at Berry Hill in South Boston in October for RPC’s annual conference. This year attendees experienced a slate full of information on how rural communities are embracing new approaches to build stable economies and improved quality of life. The group toured South Boston’s significant development projects such as a market-rate housing approach new to South Boston and the growth of a higher education center preparing local residents for new jobs. These projects may not be new in other areas, but their newness in South Boston is a demonstration of how communities built on declining industry can reinvent themselves to rebuild and attract business investment to remain economically viable and retain local talent. The conference also covered other relevant topics such as planning for the future of rural health care centers in a changing marketplace; cooperation and planning across jurisdictional boundaries, and how other regions approach economic development.

For further information, please contact Christy Straight (, 540-639-9313, ext. 209.