2020 Kalispell Chamber Priorities

The Kalispell Chamber advances a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda for Kalispell and Montana. Our work is focused in four strategic areas: growing Kalispell as a regional trade center, strengthening manufacturing and innovation, accelerating non-resident tourism growth, and building on our infrastructure momentum. The Kalispell Chamber is the largest business organization in northwest Montana and is comprised of 725 businesses and organizations that employ over half of the workforce in Flathead County, Montana. In addition, please review the 2020 strategic priorities around developing a talented and educated workforce through our 501(c)3 arm, the Kalispell Chamber Foundation.

PROMOTE AN ACTIVE AND VIBRANT DOWNTOWN:

A vibrant, prosperous downtown is critical to the success of communities and workforce attraction.

  • Extend the work of our Development Information Center to the next phase by informing developers, the public, and out members about outstanding development opportunities available downtown including Tax Increment Financing, New Market Tax Credits, and Opportunty Zone Incentives.
  • Small Business Saturday will be extended to include more businesses, especially those downtown.
  • Support the Downtown Core Area Plans and promote the health and vibrancy of the central business district.

GROW KALISPELL AS A REGIONAL TRADE CENTER:

Regional trade center growth increases the number of jobs in high-wage, high-growth industry sectors such as health care, financial services, professionals services, and manufacturing

  • Education and workforce: we will launch a workforce initiative with our partners in education and workforce development so that students can earn credentials of value in the marketplace and employers can have a steady supply of talented, hard-working people to do the work of a modern economy.
  • Advocate for pro-growth land use policies for B3 zone, city and county growth policies, and new commercial areas.
  • Utilize health care research to support Kalispell as a regional health care center: PUD overlay, H1 zone, defeat of poor tax policy, and provide high-quality health care for the people of Northwest Montana.
  • Form a Commercial Development Roundtable to encourage informed institutional and commercial development.

BUILD ON INFRASTRUCTURE MOMENTUM:

Modern, safe, and efficient infrastructure is integral to a growing economy. Roads, bridges, and airports connect us to new markets and visitors that move our economy forward.

  • We led advocacy efforts to help secure $12.75M of federal funding for the Kalispell Bypass in 2018. Now is the time to press harder for completion for the completion of the alternate route.
  • Drive forward with the re-designation of Reserve Drive as part of the state primary system.
  • Support Glacier Park International Airport on its $100M terminal expansion plans that will create more gates for new flights, including new non-stop American Airlines flights to LaGuardia in 2020.

ACCELERATE NON-RESIDENT TOURISM GROWTH:

Non-resident tourism adds $614+M to the Flathead economy and introduces the area to visitors who become investors, business owners, retirees, and second home owners.

  • Extend success of signature events: Montana Spartan Race and Montana Indoor Soccer Championships.
  • Broaden “Bring It Home” campaign to recruit meetings and conventions, building on the 3,158 hotel rooms already booked for 2020 though group sales efforts.
  • Evolve the Discover Kalispell brand and marketing strategy to position Kalispell as a destination mountain community.

STRENGTHEN MANUFACTURING AND INNOVATION:

Advanced manufacturing and the innovation sectors are two of the fastest growing and highest paying components of the local economy and help power wage growth in the Flathead Valley.

  • Implement a Talent Pipeline Management program with the manufacturing and bioscience sectors.
  • Strengthen manufacturers through direct support with the Manufacturers Alliance, Flathead Manufacturing Month, certificates of origin, scholarships, the brewery/winery/cidery/distillery map, trade support, and the Flathead Timber Tour.
  • Aggressivly pursue a manufacturing and bioscience agenda: reduce workers compensation rates, eliminat the business equipment tax, support trade, and expand commercial air service.

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