I spent some time in Hoover, AL this month. This city is a great example of destination finding its way in the shadow of a larger metropolitan area. They are blessed with being close to a large city like Birmingham, but also looking for their own brand identity to set themselves apart. They already have some sports infrastructure that sets them apart—they are host to the annual SEC Baseball Championship, so baseball fans in the southeast are well acquainted with Hoover.
They are also home to a group of like-minded outdoor enthusiasts who are trying to brand themselves using these assets and building even more. Local home builder, Signature Homes, has even been giving up land and building trails for the community as they look to enhance the housing value in town and create a better standard of living for the residents. I see many communities looking to find ways to create outdoor recreation opportunities for their residents and visitors as it not only creates economic impact from visitors from out of town, but it attracts people who are interested in living in a town with an outdoor lifestyle. These outdoor-minded people are an attractive demographic for cities looking for people to fill the workforce and the idea continues to pick up steam around the US.