THE TOBACCO VALLEY eUREKA, wEST kOOTENAI, rEXFORD, fORTINE, tREGO AND sTRYKER, mONTANA
OCTOBER 3 – 4, 2007
In Partnership with : Eureka Rural Development Partners, The Tobacco Valley Community Development Council, Montana USDA/RD, Montana Business Assistance Connections, Montana Department of Commerce, Sanders County Community Development Corp., Montana West Economic Development, Montana Economic Developers Association and the people of the Tobacco Valley.
INTRODUCTION It was a privilege for the Tobacco Valley Resource Team to spend two days in your communities. Thank you for your hospitality, your time, and for sharing with the team the vision you have for the Tobacco Valley.
Before digging in to the report itself, I would like to thank Montana Department of Commerce (MDOC) for its support of the Montana Economic Developers Association (MEDA). It is a partnership between MDOC and MEDA that makes Resource Team projects available across the state.
Special thanks are due to Tracy McIntyre and Rose Kipp, or Eureka Rural Development Partners. Tracy and Rose served as the champions behind this entire project and will continue to be involved with the project through activities detailed in this report. Tracy and Rose had help from other people, agencies and businesses, but without their “Let’s do it” energy, the assessment would not have taken place.
In addition, I applaud each and every team member that dedicated hours of work and travel in order to participate on the team: Bill Barr, Cooperative Specialist for Montana USDA/RD; Carolyn Keller, Grant Writer and Planner for Montana Business Assistance Connection; Steve Simonson, Executive Director, Sanders county Community Development Corp.; Mike Strotheide, President, Montana West Economic Development and Charlie Wright, Western Regional Development Officer, Montana Department of Commerce.
Each team member’s contact information is provided in the following report. Please feel free to call on any of us for additional information or support. It would be our pleasure!
The stage is now set for the future of the Tobacco Valley. There are a number of short term and long term accomplishable recommendations that the resource team has provided in this report. Each of you individually must decide what it is that you want to do—what kind of project you want to tackle. It is also important for the entire community to be involved in finding ways to accomplish its goals. A few celebrations at the successful conclusion of an activity that has involved a large number of citizens will lead to a feeling of accomplishment that will carry over into other activities. Look through the suggestions, pick out one, and get started. It can be done. It is your choice, your decision; you can do it!
Team Coordinator, MEDA
PROCESS FOR DEVELOPMENT OF THIS REPORT eaCAccording to Montana Department of Commerce program requirements, Resource Team Assessments are to be approved through the community’s Certified Regional Development Corporation (CRDC). Billie Lee, CRDC Executive Director for the Tobacco Valley area, gave the “green light” for the assessment. The board of Montana Economic Developers Association (MEDA) then approved the project. Eureka Rural Development Partners and the Tobacco Valley Community Development Council served as the local Resource Team coordinators for the project. Montana Economic Developers Association (MEDA) provided staff support for the coordination of a resource team to assist the Tobacco Valley in evaluating its assets and challenges and in developing suggestions for improving the environment, social and economic future of the area.
Tracy McIntyre and Rose Kipp, of Eureka Rural Development Partners, served as the local contacts and local team leaders for the project. Under their direction, an agenda was developed, logistics arranged, as well as budgeting and publicity for the assessment. Resource team members were selected to visit, interview citizens, businesses and community leaders to develop options for projects for the Tobacco Valley. The team members were carefully selected based on their fields of expertise that local officials indicated would be needed to respond to the problem areas identified.
The Resource Team interviewed and received written comments from over 150 people during October 3 – 4, 2007. All notes from all listening sessions as well as those submitted via email or handwritten are included in this report. The team was available for listening to the following groups: Local Officials/Town Councils; people of West Kootenai; Banks/Financial Institutions; Churches; Retail/Businesses; people of Fortine and Trego; Educators; Law Enforcement and Border Patrol; Civic Clubs and Non Profits; Water, Utilities, Co-ops; Students; and Senior Citizens and Health Care.
Each participant was asked to respond to three questions designed to begin communication and discussion and to serve as a basis for developing recommendations in this report. The three questions were:
What do you think are the major strengths and assets in your community?
What do you think are the major problems and challenges in your community?
What projects would you like to see completed in two, five, ten and twenty years in your community?
Upon completion of the interviews, the team met in a work session to compare notes and share comments. The team then agreed that each team member would carefully analyze the things said, synthesize what they heard with their knowledge of programs and resources, prepare their notes and suggestions, and forward these items to be combined into this final report to the people in the Tobacco Valley.
A preliminary oral report and a summary of group recommendations were presented to the people of Tobacco Valley the evening of October 4th.
Following the oral report, this formal written report was prepared and is presented to the people of the Tobacco Valley. Copies will be made available in print and electronically. The report is available on the MEDA website at http://www.medamembers.org/resourceteams.php A Town Hall Meeting is planned for Monday, December 3rd at 6:00pm, in the Lincoln County High School commons area. The purpose of the meeting will be to briefly review the report, identify projects and set priorities for action.
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Working Lunch W/students Von’s Cafe
12:30 p.m. – 12:50 p.m. Break
1:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Senior citizens/health care Senior Center
2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Team prepares for Town Meeting Archive Room LCHS
5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Team working Supper
7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Town Meeting/Team presentation Auditorium LCHS
If you have any questions Please call ERDP @ 406-297-7374
MAIN TOPIC LIST EUREKA/TOBACCO VALLEY RESOURCE TEAM ASSESSMENT
OCTOBER 3 – 4, 2007
The following list is a summary of main topics and issues that result from the Tobacco Valley Resource Team listening to the communities address strengths, challenges and their vision for the Tobacco Valley. This list will serve as the outline for the Resource Team Assessment Report which will be available the second week of November. There will be a Tobacco Valley Town Meeting held the evening of December 3rd to identify and prioritize projects.