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It was announced at the joint meeting of the executive committees of Big Sky Economic Development Authority (EDA) and Big Sky Economic Development Corporation (EDC) that LMN Architecture and Design of Seattle, Washington has been selected to develop a concept plan for Exposition Gateway, which is the area directly cross from MetraPark on Exposition Drive. The contract will be for $101,500. LMN will work with a local company, High Plains Architects, as a co-leader. The project is expected to take from 12 to 18 months to complete. Randy Hafer of High Plains was in attendance at the executive committee meeting, and he commended the selection process pursued by EDA. The process involved a committee of board members, Tax Increment District representation and property owners, interviewing the nine responses they received on their request for proposals.
Also, at the meeting, Jeremy Vannatta reported that EDA is close to having secured the $80,000 needed to conduct a Target Industry Analysis. They were awarded $40,000 from the US Economic Development Agency for the project. The balance will come from local contributions. They will soon be issuing a request for proposal and expect the results within three or four months once a contract is signed. The study will help the community identify what businesses are the best prospects to target for recruitment to the area.
EDA/EDC Director Steve Arveschoug reported that at a recent meeting of the Air-Service Taskforce, Senator Max Baucus' staff briefed the group on the value and costs associated with creating a free-trade zone as a part of re-establishing international status to the Billings airport. The costs are significant, said Arveschoug. "We will continue to consider this issue along with other opportunities to expand air-service in and out of Billings. I think it makes sense to explore Billings to Calgary service, given the energy and industry connections that are in place. That would involve the cost of a customs office of about $200,000 a year."
It was also noted that the lease EDA/EDC has at Granite Tower has only about 14 months remaining. A committee will explore options available for future office space.
The Big Sky Business Journal
P.O. Box 3262
Billings, MT 59103