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Director's Report February, 2002
- A short, but very busy month! On February 1st the Grants Scoring Committee met to compare scores and develop funding recommendations for the full state Commission. Forty-four "project" grant applications reflecting a combined financial request of almost $800,000 were received and scored by this committee. Nineteen "Organization & Planning" grant applications were also received reflecting a combined $38,000 in requests from regional commissions and tribal governments. Thirteen "project" grants totaling $122,000 were recommended to the full Commission for funding, as were the 19 "O&P" grants totaling $38,000.
NOTE: At their meeting on February 12th the state Commission voted to accept the recommendations of the Scoring Committee. A listing of the project grant recipients is included in the March 2002 'journal notes' newsletter. A more detailed grant summary is available on the Commission's web page, www.montanalewisandclark.org on the "Funding" section, or upon request.
- I traveled to Great Falls on February 3rd and 4th to attend a Research Committee meeting of the Tourism Advisory Council (TAC) and the Institute for Tourism Recreation Research (ITRR), a meeting of the full TAC. At my request and urging, the Research Committee voted to recommend funding be allocated in FY'03 (starts 7/1/03) to underwrite additional Bicentennial visitation research. The proposed research would most likely be completed in partnership with other interested states along the Trail with the goal of gaining an updated estimate of the number of visitors expected during the Bicentennial.
- During February, I worked with Mike Oliver, the Congressional Field Liaison for the Bi-Cameral Bicentennial Caucus, in an effort to move select appropriation requests forward in the second session of the 107th Congress. In a nutshell, our goal is to work closely with the Montana Congressional Delegation to pursue funding in three areas: 1) monies to enhance the state Commission's grants program, 2) monies to fund the continued development of a statewide Bicentennial Public Safety Plan, and 3) monies to fund a significant implementation phase for the statewide Interpretive Sign Strategy. Draft appropriation requests were drafted and presented for initial review and comment.
- On February 8th I participated in a conference call of my counterparts in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and North Dakota and the planning staff of the NPS's Corps II project. We discussed at length the roles of the NPS and the respective states. Of special interest was a "Host Location Survey" recently issued by the NPS that is intended to be used to select host locations for Corps II. After some discussion, it was agreed that states would circulate the NPS survey and then forward completed surveys to the NPS for review. The NPS would then communicate back to each state Bicentennial commission, and would very likely proceed to schedule community meetings before final host site locations were announced.
NOTE: It was subsequently agreed during the Regional Commission meeting in Dillon on February 11th that each regional commission would complete surveys for pertinent possible locations within their area, and forward completed surveys to my attention at the state Commission by June 1, 2002.
- February 11th and 12th found Rita and me in Dillon, MT. On the 11th we participated in meetings of the Confluence of Cultures Symposium planning group, Education Committee, and Regional Commissions and Indian Bicentennial Coordinators. On the 12th the state Commission met. All meetings took place in the Lewis & Clark Room on the Western Montana campus. Meeting summaries of all these meetings will be posted on the Commission's web site at: http://www.montanalewisandclark.org/commission in early March.
- Fundraising Program Update: In partnership with the Montana History Foundation, the Charles Bentz & Associates planning team completed the drafting of a Case Statement. Interviews with key influential contacts will now be conducted around the state to assist in determining our fundraising potential and strategy(s). Phase I of the Commission's fundraising program is scheduled for completion by April 1.
- Work continued on the marketing of the new Montana Bicentennial license plate. A commitment was made to stretch the marketing plan for the new plates by placing 10 billboards in 7 communities during the months of March and April. A web banner has also been finalized and will now be "marketed" to key web sites having primarily a Montana audience. Personalized "promotional" plates featuring "L&C 1" through "L&C 25" will be made by the Motor Vehicle Division and then made available to each regional commission and tribal government for publicity and/or fundraising. A similar "L&C 200" plate will also be made for the state Commission's publicity and fundraising efforts. Look for the state Commission's Bicentennial logo to start appearing on the sides of Montana Highway Patrol cars that already sport the new license plates. And finally, the Department of Justice agreed that 'collector plates' of the Bicentennial design would be sold by the state Commission (sales price tentatively at $20.00 per plate, plus S&H). Please refer inquiries for the purchase of 'collector plates' to the state Commission office in Helena.
- Sara Groves, the fundraising coordinator for the Montana History Foundation, attended a Yellowstone Corridor meeting hosted by the Rocky Mountain College in Billings on Saturday, February 23rd. Communities along the Yellowstone River from Livingston to Glendive and Sidney offered reports on Bicentennial planning efforts.
- The March 2002 edition of the Commission's 'journal notes' newsletter was drafted. Anticipate receiving this latest newsletter within the first 10 days of March.
- And finally in February, I traveled to Three Forks on the 28th to participate in a meeting of the State Parks Futures Committee. In addressing the committee I relayed our effective working relationship with State Parks, and likewise our satisfaction in being administratively attached to the Montana Historical Society.
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