In this video, Economic Development Coordinator, Kristen Rosa, discusses the site control and infrastructure benefits of Montana Connections Business Development Park. Watch this video or read the transcription below to learn more about the benefits of bringing your business to Butte, Montana.
What is your name and job title?
My name is Kristen Rosa and I am the Economic Development Coordinator for Butte Silver Bow. I work for the local city county government and economic development. One of my major focuses is in tax increment for financing districts and industrial districts.
How long have you been in the Butte community?
My husband and I have lived here for 24 years and I have been in this current position for almost 12.
What is MCBDP? How is it operated and who is it operated by?
MCBDP stands for Montana Connections Business Development Park. Back in the early ‘90s, Butte Silver Bow had the ability to purchase a great deal of land over a thousand acres from a rancher. All of that property is currently owned and marketed by Butte Silver Bow. As we are able to attract investors, they buy the property and become the land owners, but for the growth of the park, Butte Silver Bow owns it.
What infrastructure is in place at MCBDP?
The infrastructure is amazing. We have invested over $50 million in infrastructure and probably have about another $10 million that we anticipate investing before the tax increment provision of the district expires in 3 years. We have potable water that can be used for all kitchen and bath type uses. We have industrial water, which is a municipally owned industrial water source that has over 4 million gallons a day available. We have a wastewater line that has over 2 million gallons a day capacity. The wastewater line is run and managed by Butte Silver Bow and the waste is taken to our metro plant where it is treated and discharged.
We have natural gas and three-phase [electric] power both by Northwestern Energy with available capacity on those. We just recently finished a fiber loop band around the park and we will continue to build out that fiber loop on all of our future infrastructure build. We have roads and we will be putting in about $5.5 million worth of rail in the coming years.
What benefits does this give to businesses who choose MCBDP as their site?
One of the benefits to being in Montana Connections that I don’t think I really talked about yet is the Port of Montana. The Port of Montana is a full service transload facility. Our industrial park is located at the intersection of I-90 and I-15 – the only place in Montana that actually has two intersecting interstates and we are also served by two class one railroads: UP (Union Pacific) and BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe)
What are some other benefits to being in the Butte area or Montana?
Advantages of locating in just Butte and Southwest Montana: We have a great workforce. I know everyone says that, but we have companies here that have expanded in the last 12-18 months. Everyone has a tight labor market, but we have one company – a manufacturing company – that’s been able to hire over 100 people over the last 18 months. We have a call center type business that has been able to hire almost 200 people over the last 12 months. We have a very loyal workforce. Our workforce – some of the studies have shown that it’s less than a 5% turnover. Once a person gets into a company, and likes that company, likes what they’re doing, they really don’t leave.
We have a really great educational system. We have Butte public schools K-12. We also have a Catholic school system K-12. We have Highlands College, which is a two year technical type college and then we have our four year Montana Tech college, which is very much a STEM college. It has nursing, has lots of engineering type programs, business, economics, those kinds of things.
We have quality of life, I know everyone says that, but we have a great quality of life. Short commute times, less than 15 minutes, even to get out to the industrial park. Then you can be on the river if you want to go fishing after work in a half hour. You can be hiking – really hiking – and see nobody on the trails in 10 minutes. So you can do all of that, you don’t have to wait for the weekend, you don’t have to take time off to enjoy these outdoor activities.
What would you say to someone considering Butte and MCBDP as the site for their business?
Obviously with raw land, we are looking for business expansions or business relocations. Contact anyone at Butte Silver Bow that works in economic development – the Butte Local Development Corporation, the Chamber of Commerce – we all work together to make sure that anybody that is interested in locating to this area gets to the right people. Then I work with you because I manage the industrial park. I tend to be the one that works with the potential developers on what kind of land they need, how much land they need, and where is a good location for them.
Because we are a government entity, we do go through some processes to actually get land in place. I have an advisory board – the TIFA (Trade & Investment Framework Agreements) board. We analyze all of the projects that come through. They look at them and they decide if they should go on to the Council of Commissioners. I obviously try to work with the developer to make sure that this process is as smooth as possible. We have three major goals in developing this industrial park. One, to sell the property. Two, to diversity our tax base. And three, for job creation.
As the local government, we get to see a big benefit to our community if we can continue to bring in industry that will participate in the prop taxes and income taxes of the area. We also get to see job creation. We are very interested in attracting new industry into the area.