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Small-town survival program gets $2 million

Jan Krotter-Chvala said she’s seen rural development programs come and go in her hometown of Atkinson, Neb.

Experts visit, give advice, leave. In the end, not much gets done.

But Krotter-Chvala, an attorney whose family has operated lumberyards in north-central Nebraska for 113 years, said her town now has found a survival strategy that shows promise.

Called HomeTown Competitiveness, the three-year-old, Lincoln-based program is active in seven communities or counties in Nebraska, including Atkinson and Stuart.

The effort recently was chosen to receive a $2 million grant over three years by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Mich. Krotter-Chvala said she hopes that makes HomeTown Competitiveness an even stronger force in helping small towns survive.

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