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Economic outlook series: Dillon has new downtown master plan

Like many cities in southwest Montana, Dillon is looking to beef up economic development by revitalizing its downtown.

Lynn Giles, Vana Taylor and RayAnn Sutton of Dillon Main Street, LLC corresponded with The Montana Standard by email to discuss a new downtown master plan that they, along with Dillon city officials, released in February 2016.

According to the trio, the plan came out of several brainstorming sessions geared toward improving economic development.

For the study the organization received grants from Main Street Montana, the Community Development Block Grant Program, the City of Dillon and the Beaverhead Development Corporation.

The three officials said action items from the plan include:

  • Supporting local business development and recruiting anchor tenants for retail complexes
  • Preserving, restoring and enhancing historically significant resources that contribute to Dillon’s identity, history and quality of life
  • Creating inviting spaces through beautification and design projects
  • Launching marketing efforts and creating promotional events for downtown businesses and community activities
  • Establishing a unified downtown organization

Already some of these goals are being realized, the three said, noting that Dillon Main Street has helped install bulb-out corners, historic lighting and benches on the corner of Bannack and Montana Streets with the goal of making the area more walkable and accessible.

“The group is also working to continue the corner design, making Montana Street a welcoming area for visitors and area residents to shop and relax,” the three officials wrote.

As for Giles, Taylor and Sutton, downtown revitalization is all about preserving and be able to capitalize on the rich history of Dillon, whose buildings go as far back as the 1800s.

“Downtown revitalization is important to Dillon because it is the heart of the commercial area” the three wrote.

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According to Deer Lodge City Councilman Caleb Burton, in this day and age you have to have an enticing downtown to compete with nearby cities.

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