BLACKFOOT — Former Blackfoot Mayor Mike Virtue offers some insight on the economics of small towns in the new book: "The Economic Viability of Micropolitan America" by Gerald L. Gordon. Virtue, a two-term mayor, retired in January following the swearing-in of Blackfoot's new mayor Paul Loomis.
The book, published December 2013 by CRC Press, contains nearly 100 case studies of small towns, their history, successes and failures, and the economic challenges that small towns face today. The book features a profile of Blackfoot and an interview with Virtue, who was serving as mayor at the time.
In the book, Virtue describes Blackfoot as a "metropolitan micropolitan city" since it sits between Idaho Falls and Pocatello.
A "micropolitan city" is defined as a town that is removed from larger cities but still has significant economic importance, drawing workers and visitors to the city.
Virtue talks about Blackfoot's economy being largely based on agriculture, the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and the proximity of three higher education institutions: Idaho State University, BYU-Idaho and Eastern Idaho Technical College.
He specifically mentioned Blackfoot's Premier Technology for bringing in 70 high-paying jobs to the city's employment at a time when the unemployment in Blackfoot was below the national average.
Virtue's advice for growing and sustaining the economy of a "micropolitan cities" includes "meeting with mayors from throughout the region to discuss common issues, concerns and opportunities.
"Thus, economic development is conducted on a regional basis, eliminating competition for business announcements," he said.
For more information about "The Economic Viability of Micropolitan America," or to order a copy, go to www.crcpress.com .