A 25-minute commute to Salina was no big deal to Brian Spano when his family moved to Minneapolis roughly a decade ago.
He drove 20 minutes to get to work when they lived in Kansas City, so the engineer was used to the distance from home to office.
Jobs are one lure Salina offers to residents of nearby towns, and they’re a means of survival for smaller communities, said Doug McKinney, executive director of the North-Central Regional Planning Commission, in Beloit.
Before interstate highways, more services were available in small towns, but commuting has been common for decades, McKinney said. Comparing retail trade surveys from the mid-1970s and the 1980s, he said, “the trend is stronger toward Salina,” particularly since the big-box retail stores congregated here.
“Salina is high in pull factor. There are a couple communities gaining, and it’s to the detriment of tiny towns to the west,” McKinney said.
(Read more: Ottawa Herald)