Idaho Power has awarded a grant to help the economy in the Pocatello area grow.
Now it's up to the Bannock Development Corporation to figure out how they want to spend the money
According to the BDC, applying for the grant was easy. Idaho Power contacted numerous development agencies around the state, and all that was required was a short application with a few different categories.
Funds from the grant will be used two ways.
The BDC takes recruiting trips to attract businesses. These are called "call trips" essentially calling on businesses in other states like California to come here to Pocatello.
"We're going to follow up with those companies from California,” said John Regetz, executive director of the BDC, “and that should probably generate some other call trips that we have to make. So the funds they granted us will help to fray those expenses."
They also want to purchase client-tracking software, allowing them to gather data on businesses staying and businesses expanding.
"Each county's economic development director will have a password or a code,” Regetz explained. “They can access that information for day-in, day-out use to help them support those companies that are in their communities, and help them grow and expand.”
The BDC's big goal is keeping jobs and making jobs stable. That means bringing in new businesses and finding places for them, like Allstate's and that new building, as well as and finding a new use for current buildings, like the old Ballard building that has become the RISE Complex for Idaho State University.
With new businesses coming in the question comes: will they build new or use old?
"They might build a building when they come into the community, if there's not already one here that addresses their needs,” said Regetz. “If there's an existing facility, obviously it would probably be the most cost-effective and, more importantly, the most time-effective process to go in and use the existing building."
Again, they still have to decide how much will be spent. Regetz said they made the award with some limits, so they are just waiting to find out how much they can actually spend.
Regetz also said Idaho Power has been one of the longest-standing supporters of the bannock development corporation.
This is the first year they have awarded this grant.