|Program||# of Grants||EDA Funds|
|Assistance To Coal Communities||1||$50,000|
Lincoln County is located in the northwestern most part of Montana. Historically, the region’s economy has been heavily dependent on the mining and forestry industries. Following the closure of the Stimson Lumber Company, the Port Authority acquired the Kootenai Business Park, a 418-acre industrial site. The Port Authority’s goal was to bring the blighted property back to productive use to attract sustainable business, spur job creation, and create a catalyst for positive economic growth. The existing rail spur was no longer functional because of outdated design and the declining condition of existing track components.
In September 2016, EDA invested $750,000 to support the Lincoln County Port Authority in redeveloping the outdated rail system serving the Kootenai Business Park. This investment will allow a local company to expand and will attract additional manufacturing companies to the mountainous site. Replacing the rail tracks is required in order to conform to current standards, ensure safe operating conditions, and meet the current design specifications of Burlington Northern Santa Fe in order for rail service to resume.
The replaced rail spur will directly benefit SK Finger Joint, Inc., a local lumber company located in the in the Kootenai Business Park. Based on the reestablishment of rail service to the Park, the company plans to add a second shift to support its finished goods inventory, which would create 29 new jobs and save 17 jobs. Several other businesses have also indicated an interest in moving to the Kootenai Business Park once the blighted property can be used again for production.