HELENA – Governor Steve Bullock and Montana Department of Commerce Director Meg O’Leary announced the award of $50,000 in grant funds to seven Montana communities through the Montana Main Street Program. The recipients of the downtown improvement grants include Butte, Deer Lodge, Libby, Miles City, Sheridan, Stevensville, and Thompson Falls. The Department of Commerce is also pleased to announce that the Main Street Program has accepted Red Lodge and Roundup as new community members.
“The Montana Main Street Program helps to strengthen the economic vitality and unique historic character of downtowns throughout the state,” Director Meg O’Leary of the Department of Commerce said. “We look forward to working with these communities in both their planning efforts and improvements to downtown infrastructure.”
The Montana Main Street Program offers technical assistance and expertise to all Montana communities and awards competitive grant funding to member communities actively working on downtown revitalization, economic development, and historic preservation. The program combines Montana Department of Commerce goals of creating and maintaining vibrant and charming Montana communities and offering safe, efficient, and quality public facilities.
Project Funds Awarded Include:
- Butte-Silver Bow County - $10,000 -- Preliminary architectural report for the historic Phoenix Building in Uptown Butte as an initial step of the rehabilitation and redevelopment of the seven-story structure.
- City of Deer Lodge - $3,750 -- Preliminary architectural report for the historic Hotel Deer Lodge building in downtown Deer Lodge, which serves as a potential catalyst for the revitalization of the downtown business district.
- Libby - $5,175 -- Tourism assessment study to develop an action plan of prioritized implementation strategies to grow the local tourism industry.
- Miles City - $10,000 -- Façade improvement program that provides financial incentive for downtown property owners to restore and improve commercial buildings within the historic downtown district.
- Sheridan - $5,000 -- Streetscape infrastructure improvement project to complement local fundraising success and toward the completion of a downtown streetscape and infrastructure transformation.
- Stevensville - $6,000 – Growth Policy update to include emphasis on community walkability, downtown access and infrastructure, continued economic growth on Main Street, business retention and recruitment, and the development of community tourism.
- Thompson Falls - $10,000 -- Downtown branding project that aims to create continuity between community tourism marketing strategy, online presence, and downtown signage. The project is an implementation of the recently adopted downtown master plan
Eligible funding activities include long-range community planning, downtown revitalization, historic preservation, tourism and economic development projects. Applications are evaluated by the Department of Commerce in the order that they are received and grants will be awarded on a continual basis until all funds are allocated.
Red Lodge and Roundup have joined the Montana Main Street Program as affiliate members. The affiliate membership tier allows the opportunity to learn and develop the Main Street Four Point Approach while accessing the resources and services of the program.
Red Lodge is developing a community transportation plan, is exploring a downtown master plan and a wayfinding system, and has recently developed community-wide branding. Roundup has taken a resilient-minded approach to revitalizing its downtown, with significant efforts underway to develop business and second floor housing in historic downtown buildings. “Roundup reached out to our program a year ago with ambitious plans and real vision,” Main Street Program Coordinator Tash Wisemiller said. “They have since started larger planning efforts, have developed public spaces with significant fundraising efforts, organized collaborative local leadership, and have identified downtown structures with rehabilitation potential. This is a town with the dedication and potential to accomplish great things.”
For more information regarding the Montana Main Street Program, please contact Tash Wisemiller, Montana Main Street Program Coordinator, at (406) 841-2756 or email DOCMainStreet@mt.gov.