The City of Montpelier is proud to announce that the city has been awarded a $500,000 community development block grant from the Idaho Department of Commerce dedicated to renovating the downtown business district. Funding will assist in sidewalk and paver repair, new trees and landscaping, benches and trash bins, and the basic construction of the new Heritage Park.
While architectural plans predict a budget of $1.2 million to complete the full project over several years, the $500,000 will concentrate on the 8th and 9th block for enhancements with phase one completion by the summer of 2022. Additional grants and fundraisers are being considered as well to augment the remaining costs. Later phases will include improvement and beautification efforts westward to and including the overpass entering the city.
Preparing the block grant request was a community effort. Mayor Jared Sharp, the Montpelier City Council, city staff, the Montpelier Community Foundation and the Southeast Idaho Council of Governments (SICOG) worked together in the collection of data and the formation of the grant request. Public meetings were also held to include input from the community.
Cost of the grant preparation was paid by the city with a 50% cost match from Bear Lake Memorial Hospital who donated the funds as part of their commitment to local economic development. Funding also allowed the city to retain the services of Shannon Holjesen to represent the city and the foundation in assisting in the block grant preparation as well as applying for other related grants. SICOG’s Emma Morton assembled all the information, wrote the formal request and will be the administrator of the awarded block grant. Mayor Sharp represented the team well on April 22 in a Zoom call with Commerce committee members where he offered the City’s final sales pitch.
With the May reopening of the Centre Theatre and several potential economic development projects expected to be announced later this year, 2021 just may be the year where history starts over in Montpelier. The city has budgeted to improve landscaped and lighted downtown parking between City Hall and the Centre Theatre. In addition, city plans are to replace all overpass lighting with bright LED lights to match the downtown district all of which was used as match to gain the block grant.
The City of Montpelier invites the public to be engaged in the community, volunteer and donate to good local causes wherever possible, and regularly attend scheduled city council meetings in order to remain active and informed.