Last August 2014, the McCall Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau was looking for a revitalization project with which to be involved, and heard about the America’s Best Communities Contest. As the contest offered a cash prize for community revitalization projects, the Chamber Board felt it was a good fit.
A committee was formed from Board Members and other volunteers, with representation from Cascade, Donnelly, McCall and New Meadows. The original application asked for identification of the 5 most pressing challenges the area faced, and what steps were in place or planned to help address the challenges.
The Committee came up with the following 5 challenges that they felt were common within the region:
- Jobs that are not seasonal in nature and provide quality-of-life wages.
- Housing affordable to all segments within the community.
- Transportation and Infrastructure to meet the needs of businesses and residents within the community.
- Educational, Recreation and Cultural opportunities for all income levels.
- Health and Well-Being services expansion.
The Committee met every week for nearly 5 months researching the area’s challenges and drafting the application. The application was officially submitted by the McCall Area Chamber of Commerce, because it was the only non-profit entity at the time that had the resources and non-profit status required. It is important to note that the application is not sponsored by the McCall Area Chamber…it is simply the entity that qualified at the time to submit an application. The Committee is now referred to by the name, “West Central Mountains – Idaho’s Adventure Corridor.”
Ultimately, The West Central Mountains was selected as one of 50 quarter-finalists, which meant the region was awarded $35,000 from the contest sponsors, Frontier Communications and Dish Network, and an additional $15,000 from Clearlink, the community mentor in the competition. The prize money was to be used toward the development of a regional economic plan.
As a quarter-finalist, The West Central Mountains became eligible to compete for the next prize: $100,000 toward implementation of a regional economic development plan. At this stage, the original committee felt it was important to broaden the representation on the committee. Public officials and community representatives were contacted, and an open invitation to be involved in the process was published in the Star News.
The current committee consists of 20 members from all four communities in our region. To help in the development of the regional economic development plan, the planning firm of Logan Simpson was hired. Utilizing existing events throughout the community as well as online surveys, the committee has sought public input and community engagement in the development of this plan. You will find booths at various events through October, manned by current committee members:
- Steve Berry: New Meadows Business Owner (Battery Universe)
- Craig Campbell: McCall Business Owner (PLAYlive McCall)
- Scotty Davenport: Cascade Chamber of Commerce; Member of Valley County Economic Development Council (VCEDC): Cascade and McCall Business owner
- Donna Eggleston: Meadows Valley Community Foundation
- Michelle Groenevelt: City of McCall
- Anne Guarino: Valley County Building Official
- Melissa Hamilton: Valley County Extension Educator
- Lindsey Harris: Donnelly Business Representative (Tamarack Resort)
- Cami Hedges: Donnelly Chamber of Commerce President
- Cynda Herrick: Valley County Planning & Zoning Administrator
- Tony Koberstein: Mayor of New Meadows
- Larry Laxson: Valley County Recreation Director
- Sherry Maupin: McCall Area Chamber of Commerce President; Member of VCEDC
- Nicole Musgrove: McCall Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau
- Lyle Nelson: Director of Community Relations and Health Promotions, St.Luke’s McCall
- Tanya Nelson: Donnelly Business Representative (Midas Gold, Inc)
- Mac Qualls: City of New Meadows
- Debi Sabatasse: Cascade Business Representative
- Randy Shroll: Idaho Department of Commerce
- Rob Terry: Mayor of Cascade
- Debbie Walgren: McCall Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau
The deadline for submission for the next phase of the contest is November 6, 2015. The November application requires the following:
- Expenditure report of the quarter-finalist prize money
- Budget Proposal for the $100,000 finalist prize
- Community Revitalization Plan, with long term objectives and an 11-month plan outlining deliverables.
- Community Revitalization Submission Form
The timeline for the competition is as follows:
- January 13, 2016: Up to 15 Semifinalists selected
- April 15, 2016: Up to 8 Finalists selected and awarded $100,000 to implement the plan
- April 26, 2017: 3 Winners selected; Winners awarded $3 million, $2 million and $1 million
In order to create a plan that is representative of the desires of the greatest segment of our region, it is imperative that all voices in the region are heard. This is best accomplished by participating in the online surveys and voicing your opinions; please help us in preserving this region we all love and cherish by completing these surveys.