That has to be the most common question we get asked. The Pondera Regional Port Authority, or PRPA, works in cooperation with the City of Conrad, Town of Valier and Pondera County to motivate and assist in the growth of all kinds of economic activity and promote business development.
The PRPA helps with business technical advice, business relocation and expansion assistance, and financial assistance.
The PRPA has been in existence for over seven years and we have 13 actively involved board members.
Other common questions we get asked include, “what’s going on in the area?” and “what are you guys currently working on?” Well, those are good questions and the answers vary considerably. In the past, the PRPA helped the Town of Valier with improvements to its Main Street Park through administration of a Community Transportation Enhancement Program grant.
Currently, we are working on several projects, some of which include the Safe Routes to School Program, the New Industrial/Commercial Park Development, the TSEP grant application to improve Conrad’s water system, and the creation of Growth Policies for the two incorporated towns (Valier and Conrad) as well as Pondera County. The following are some of our bigger, more ongoing projects:
Neighborhood Stabilization Project, or NSP, is a project that works to improve local housing quality. Through this program, we were able to purchase three homes in Pondera County. One home, located in Conrad, has been renovated with energy efficient appliances, paint work and minor repairs. The second home, located in Brady, was demolished and replaced with a manufactured home. The third home, located in Conrad, was demolished and rebuilt at the site. By purchasing these foreclosed homes, renovating them and making them available for low income families, our goal is to put local contractors to work and create improved and affordable housing in the community.
Revolving Loan Fund, or RLF, is a small revolving loan fund we manage in order to help build and/or expand small businesses in the area.
RLF loans have been made to 18 local businesses, totaling approximately $943,582.00. The majority of the available funds originated with Community Development Block Grant programs.
As these loans are being repaid, we now have funding available for loans for other businesses and their needs. We are working hand in hand with the local banks to provide workable finance solutions for business needs.
The Rocky Boy’s/North Central Montana Regional Water System project (NCMRWS) is a long term planning project for future drinking water supply to the Rocky Boy’s Reservation and several water systems located in north central Montana.
The project includes water treatment facilities located on the east end of Tiber Reservoir. Transmission pipelines, water storage tanks, and pumping facilities will eventually transmit water from these facilities to the 22 member entities and water purchasers participating in the Rocky Boy’s/NCMRWS project. The Port Authority Director, Cheryl Curry, serves as one of the City of Conrad representatives on the board of the NCMRWS.
We encourage you to visit our website, www.ponderaportauthority.com for further information. You can also stop in our office at 311 S. Main Street, Suite D in Conrad, or call us at 406-271-7237.
Editor’s note: This article was submitted for the I-O by Cheryl Curry, Executive Director of the Port Authority.