I'm Casey Francis, Communications and Design Associate. I help craft the Center's story and explain its mission. When I was a kid in the town of Lyons, Nebraska, the scraping sound of snowplows began before I woke up. I would watch as the snow plows rumbled down my street, feeling the cold as I leaned my forehead against the window, anxiously waiting for that mountain of snow to form in the corner lot at South Third and Main Street.
You see, the city crew used that empty lot to hold snow pushed off the streets of town. It didn’t matter whether two inches or two feet fell, they piled as much as they could to form a wintery playground for the kids, even it was just a small mound.
A time or two each winter, the forecasted blizzard delivered on its promise, and the city workers did too. The pile would become Snow Mountian, eastern Nebraska’s own Chimney Rock. We'd burrow tunnels, launch snowballs, and play King of the Mountain until our fingers ached with cold. I'm sure you know the feeling.
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Like me, you might sadly realize Snow Mountain probably doesn't exist anymore. Today, it’d be considered a hazardous liability. You might also recognize that while that pile of winter's waste was a welcome sight for us, it served as a somber reminder that a once successful business was no longer there. You see, that's where McMonie's Grocery once stood. Click here to help support rural businesses!
In small towns though, changes create valuable opportunities. Today, the lot on the corner of South Third and Main is not McMonie's Grocery, nor is it the location of Snow Mountain. Instead, that location is the home of the Lyons town library, which houses the McMonie's Reading Center.
Rural America is a changing landscape. The Center for Rural Affairs works to shape that change in a positive direction for small towns, businesses, and family farms and ranches. Will you help Rural America?