New economic position coming to Polson

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Pictured from left are Toni Young, president of the Greater Polson Community Foundation; Polson City Manager Mark Shrives; and Lake County Community Development Corporation Executive Director Gypsy Ray. (Ashley Fox/Lake County Leader)

A collaboration within Lake County will bring a new position to Polson.

Applications are currently being accepted at the Polson Job Service for a business development coordinator, who will begin the position once officials receive applications and make a selection.

The new position, which will be 20 hours a week, came about following conversations with the Polson Redeveopment Agency (PRA) and the City of Polson, Polson City Manager Mark Shrives said.

Together, the city and PRA discussed a way to connection different organizations within the community, he added.

The PRA, which recently began a grant program, decided to help fund the position.

Funds from PRA are tax increment financing, or TIF, Shrives said, and the monies would need to be spent in downtown Polson in the TIF district.

The Greater Polson Community Foundation stepped in to help funding the position so that more than just TIF-designated areas of downtown could be included.

Together, the entities have awarded $20,000 for the position.

Shrives noted that separately, neither the city nor GPCF were in the position to hire someone for the position, which is “where we connected” with the Lake County Community Development Corporation.

Twenty-two meetings were held in order to develop the position, and throughout those meetings, GPCF President Toni Young said that organizers realized “people really want to see a vibrant downtown.”

Gypsy Ray, LCCDC executive director, explained that in order to come up with a model for the position, members of PRA visited Anaconda who have a similar position, so see funding possibilities as well as a contract format.

“We were able to look at what they did and see what could work in our community, because it is different,” she said.

Eventually, Ray said that the part time position could grow to full time, “because that’s what Polson needs.”

When a new resident comes to town and wants to open a business in Polson, they can talk with the business coordinator, who Ray said will help develop relocation packets with local demographics, inventory of stores and other information about the market.

She also said that while LCCDC serves Lake, Mineral and Sanders counties, this position is important because it’ll be specific to Polson.

Young said that the organization feels “very strongly” to help promote a vibrant downtown and community.

Candidates with economic development experience can apply, and should have experience with overseeing projects and convening meetings, Ray said.

Candidates for the business coordinator should apply for the position through the Polson Job Service, located at 417 Main Street, suite B, in Polson.

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