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Community Development

At Bear Paw Development, working to improve the operability and condition of public facilities has been a continuous goal for over 50 years.  Providing basic essential services, such as clean drinking water, is part of every local government’s responsibility to its citizens.  By partnering with Bear Paw Development and utilizing the resources we offer, local governments are able to provide these important services at an affordable rate to their residents. 

Public facilities that are part of the portfolio of projects Bear Paw Development works with include wastewater systems, drinking water systems, storm drainage systems, solid waste management, dams and bridges.  Other public facility projects we have been involved with include retirement, medical, and senior citizen centers, transit facilities and recreational facilities.  If a project doesn’t easily fit into one of these areas, Bear Paw Development’s staff is always willing to discuss the details to determine how best we can be of assistance.

Infrastructure and public facility projects are often very expensive.  Depending on the project, they range in cost from a few thousand dollars to several million.  We work with local officials and others to develop a funding package for projects that will accomplish the goal in the most affordable way possible.  Since 2007, Bear Paw Development has leveraged over $31.7 million in federal, state and local funds for infrastructure projects in our five-county Economic Development District. 

Bear Paw Development utilizes grant and loan funds from various state and federal programs, including the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, US Department of Agriculture - Rural Development (RD) programs, Treasure State Endowment Program (TSEP), Renewable Resource Grant and Loan (RRGL) program and the State Revolving Fund (SRF) program.  We use these and other finance programs, either by themselves or in combination with one another, to help you and your community devise funding packages that are viable, affordable and assure that your project is successful.


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Julea Robbins

Regional Disaster Economic Recovery Coordinator

Click here to email Julea

406.265.9226 ext. 23

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Sara Strissel

Director of Community Planing and Brownfields

Click here to email Sara

406.265.9226 ext. 33

Community Planning

Bear Paw Development works with member local governments to assess needs, identify funding opportunities, set priorities, and prepare applications for economic and community planning activities in their areas. Bear Paw's Director of Community Planning serves as the liaison between local governments and state and federal agencies for selected activities, including the development and administration of projects funded in part through grants from the CDBG program, Big Sky Trust Fund and Montana Department of Transportation, among others.

Bear Paw's Planning Department updates the District's Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) on an annual basis. The CEDS document is an economic roadmap for the District, designed to improve and strengthen the economy and quality of life in northern Montana. Bear Paw's Planner is assisted in this effort by the Bear Paw Strategy Committee, an advisory group predominantly comprised of private sector individuals from across the District. The Strategy Committee provides valuable insight into the economic conditions of northern Montana.

What is a CEDS?
A Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, or CEDS, is a strategic planning document designed to help guide the economic growth of an area.  It is a regional strategy which reflects local economic development needs and priorities and recommends a regional approach to achieving sustainable economic development. A CEDS is required to qualify for U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) assistance under its Public Works and Planning Programs.

Click here to read our Frequently Asked Questions. 

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