The Butte Local Development Corporation is a powerhouse.
When it comes to the hand-to-hand combat of economic development – and make no mistake, there are multiple places inside our state and out vying for almost every potential employer that comes along – BLDC has proved its mettle time and again.
It would have been easy for the group to stagger or even retreat when dynamic Pam Haxby-Cote unexpectedly stepped down from the helm to take an even bigger challenge – that of Secretary of Commerce in the Bullock Administration.
But thanks to the steady guidance of board chairman Ray Rogers and the successful recruitment of new executive director Joseph Willauer, BLDC has hardly missed a beat.
As the organization proudly noted at last Thursday’s annual dinner, since January 2016, the BLDC has distributed $2.5 million in loans, created or retained 133 jobs and helped with the renovation and/or acquisition of eight properties in the Uptown Revitalization District.
In addition to that kind of heavy lifting, the group also fills another valuable function by identifying and honoring the region’s outstanding entrepreneurs, volunteer and non-profit organizations and businesses.
This year’s awardees were particularly inspiring, and provided clear evidence that the “Butte buzz” is louder than ever as more businesses and entrepreneurs set up shop in The Mining City.
Success stories like entrepreneurs of the year Cari Coe, owner of 101 E. Broadway, home of the new Kinetic Fitness, and Tony Blacklock of Blacklock Block Manufacturing are adding diverse businesses and jobs to the local economy. The same goes, of course, for the Business of the Year, the Copper King Hotel and Convention Center, remade into a beautiful economic engine for the town by Matt Nistler and Rex Leipheimer.
BLDC has shown willingness and aptitude in working with a wide range of other entities, including Butte-Silver Bow, Headwaters RC&D, and the Butte Chamber of Commerce. But most of all, it has shown results for which we can all be grateful.
Butte. Elevated. Indeed.