Updating the Town
Small towns have a charm all their own, but they can become dreary places when the people move on to more lucrative areas. Attracting new residents is often difficult as the center of town disintegrates from lack of a tax base to support it, and the area may fall into complete disrepair. There are few developers willing to build in an area where the prices are at rock bottom due to these conditions, so many of them are willing to help with updating the town to attract new residents.
Refurbishing town buildings, common areas and streets is an expensive proposition, and many older towns do not have the funds or credit to do the work. Developers looking for new places to build have found that giving town governments an opportunity to update their infrastructure will make the land more valuable, so they are often willing to give discounts on helping them. This gives these small governments the opportunity to obtain credit based on future tax income, and everyone can win in this situation.
It might seem as if developers would be insane to invest in a town that has fallen into disrepair, but they are investing in future profits. Once they have updated the town, their development will be worth much more than the price they paid for the land. Their return will be the ability to build and sell homes and businesses to new residents moving into the area. They can maintain the highest prices when people see they will be living on the outskirts of a small but charming town with plenty of updated amenities.
Small communities have fought these types of deals in the past, but they have learned how to ensure their small town will survive in good shape. They have become savvy negotiators when it comes to allowing developers zoning changes in return for helping them reactivate their community.