Twelve projects will get a share of $70,100 in county money to help Butte's economy, including "rapid response" graffiti removal for Uptown businesses and startup costs for making blast-proof drink coolers for soldiers.
Butte-Silver Bow commissioners gave most of the proposals less than was asked, and they didn't give a dime to four projects. Those included a request for $20,000 to patent and produce decks of cards with 54 people, places, and things unique to Butte.
If a family's "Butte Cards" had been funded, Our Lady of the Rockies would have been the queen of clubs, William Clark the king of hearts, and the Berkeley Pit the two of clubs. The idea was to promote Butte.
"Sure, we have newspapers and fliers about Butte but most times, they get looked at maybe once then thrown out," an application for the proposal said. "Have you ever seen anyone throw out a deck of cards?"
Commissioners recently folded on that request, but contracts for 12 others are being drawn up so checks can go out. The money comes from a single mill levy that usually generates more than $65,000 a year for economic development.
Mainstreet Uptown Butte is getting $1,800 to help Uptown businesses pay for immediately removing graffiti, which often is not covered by insurance. The program will be "an encouragement to business and a discouragement to vandals," the application said.
Like the past several years, the biggest single chunk of cash — $17,000 this time — went to Advantage Butte for bidding and hosting sports tournaments and bringing visitors and their pocketbooks to town.
The group says it will spend the county money on hosting five events over the next year: the Montana Tech Big Sky Volleyball Challenge; the NRA Rodeo Finals; and Class AA girls and boys state golf, state basketball, and state softball.
Commissioners again steered money to festivals, including $6,400 to Mainstream Uptown Butte for the Montana Folk Festival and $4,800 to the Montana Gaelic Society for putting on An Rí Rá. Evel Knievel Days did not ask for money this time.
A new recipient, Alpha Technology LLC, is getting $10,600 to help startup costs for manufacturing soft-material coolers that will withstand blasts in military vehicles but keep water or other drinks cool even in scorching desert heat.
Other recipients and their awarded amounts are:
• Butte Local Development Corp.: $7,200 for the Butte Elevated marketing campaign to promote Butte.
• Butte Local Development Corp.: $7,000 to help a group host a statewide Young Professionals Conference in Butte next June.
• The Greeley Neighborhood Community Development Corp.: $1,200 to support the Alma Higgins Commemorative Competition to promote beautification efforts in Butte's neighborhoods.
• Ted Ackerman: $4,200 to help complete renovation of the Miner's Hotel by installing a video system for a "speakeasy" and reception area in the basement. It would allow for slide shows, videos, and cable programs.
• World Museum of Mining: $3,300 to purchase a 20'-by-40' event canopy and 30 tables to accommodate larger events.
• Building Active Communities Team: $1,100 for a "wayfinding" project and signs directing people to various amenities and attractions in Butte and informing them how long it takes to get there walking or on bicycle.
• Headwaters RC&D: $5,500 to promote local producers of food and agricultural products via the Food Alliance of Rural Montana.