Rippling Effect Exercise highlights recent PC projects
April 3, 2019
Business and community leaders met at the Great Northern Lodge Room in Malta last Wednesday to participate in a Ripple Effects Mapping exercise to map and highlight some of the areas of improvement that several meetings held with the Montana Economic Developers Association have hosted in Phillips County since 2014.
Co-host for the event was Dr. Lorie Higgins, Community Development Specialist from the University of Idaho, who had a large, blank white piece of paper stuck to a wall in the Lodge Room for the mapping exercise. Dr. Higgins had the 30 or so people in attendance form into teams and discuss what has happened in Phillips County since the three meeting was held in Malta and after 20 minutes of discussion, had the groups present some of their findings to the entire room as she jotted them down on the blank paper.
In 2014, some of the issues brought up by the focus groups that have since seen improvements was a call for a revamped Parks and Recreation Department which was first spearheaded by Malta’s Laura Pankratz, then incorporated by the City of Malta before Julia Tatafu, Natalie Judd (who has moved on from the position) and Sally Wright took over as directors and have offered at least a dozen different activities to the public — for both adults and children — and have become an important part of the community. The expansion of the Malta Trails and the new walking bridge on Highway 2 — both spearheaded by Pankratz — were also highlighted at the event.
In other outdoor recreation needs, The Hi-Line Future Foundation was discussed as that non-profit group works to raise money for improvements to the City of Malta’s Municipal Pool (and is hosting the Hi-Line Future Foundation Prom Night on April 27, see the PCN for news on this event in a future issue of the paper.)
Other areas the previous groups felt needed improving at the meetings leading up to last Wednesday’s mapping session included the Hi-Line Retirement Center (not being operated by locals), a local planning committee to deal with potential emergency situations in Phillips County (which included KMMR Radio being outfitted with back-up generators for power outages), the opening of the Phillips County Shooting Range, and Ranchers Stewardship Association and other local outfits who promote agriculture in the area.
One upcoming area of concern discussed at the meeting was the proposed change of hours at the Port of Morgan which many felt will hurt both the Phillips County Motorsport operation and, in turn, would see a reduction in customers in local businesses during race weekends. A town hall meeting for the Port of Morgan reduction of hours will be held in Malta today (April 3) at 4 p.m. at the Great Northern.
Soon, the blank white paper was marked with several different colors of ink and filled with accomplishments made in Phillips County since the process started. The notes will be transferred to a software program and the results will be organized and distributed electronically and printed in the PCN when made available.