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Kalispell Chamber Announces Pro-Growth Plans for 2016

January 20, 2016View for printing

The Kalispell Chamber of Commerce hosted the Kalispell Business Agenda Luncheon on January 19 at the Red Lion. In attendance were 170 community members, business owners, and several of the valley's top leaders.

Kicking off the event was the presentation of $100,000 to Kidsports, accepted by Senator Mark Blasdel and Dan Johns, founder of the complex. The business community rallied at the Chamber's Annual Banquet and Auction in November to raise funds for improvements of the important community project.

Beginning the luncheon program and referencing many of the area achievements from 2015, Joe Unterreiner, President and CEO of the Kalispell Chamber set an initial mood of success and celebration, but cautioned attendees of what the year to come may have in store.

"A few short weeks ago we were wrapping up 2015 and savoring some good news in the local economy. Now, however, is not the time to take a victory lap. There is huge upside potential, but many downside risks."

Mentioned by the president were how the area is still 2,400 jobs below marks from 2008 and that the EPA Clean Power Plan is threatening nearly 1,000 more in Northwest Montana. The Dow is off 8.2% so far this year, federal debt increasing, and the nation's key international trading partners are struggling.

"A positive future will not come automatically. We must work for it. We must earn it," said the president as he turned his attention to what the Kalispell Chamber has in store for 2016.

The Chamber plans to put its greatest efforts behind just a handful of key initiatives that can make the most difference.

Planning to take a two-pronged approach, the Chamber will first join with the Montana and U.S. Chambers of Commerce and the State of Montana to challenge EPA Power Plan measures. A second step will be taken by working with local utility providers, the Governor's Advisory Committee, the Governor's staff, the Public Services Commission, and others to craft a state plan that minimizes the impacts to Northwestern Montana.

"We'll also add a business perspective to the update of the Kalispell Growth Policy," said Unterreiner. "These plans are vital to the growth and success of our community," referencing the Core Area Plan, Downtown Plan, South Kalispell Urban Renewal Plan, Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plana and the Transportation Plan.

The Kalispell Chamber plans to further increase tourism by developing a Tourism Alliance, set to debut during the Chamber's May luncheon on tourism and hospitality.

Look for the Chamber to support manufacturing and innovation by pushing for further reductions and eliminations of the business equipment tax and searching for ways to reduce workmen compensation costs. An increase in manufacturing trades scholarships is also something to look for during October: Flathead Manufacturing Month.

High on the Chamber's list of to-dos is advocating a policy agenda that supports additional commercial and residential construction while streamlining the approval process and costs.

"Rest assured the Kalispell Chamber will work tirelessly to preserve the spirit of enterprise and advance an agenda of growth and prosperity."

For questions on the Kalispell Chamber's 2016 Agenda, please contact Joe Unterreiner,

To view the complete list of 2016 events for the Kalispell Chamber, click here ... -Events.pdf

About the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau

Since 1904, the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau has been a leading voice in strengthening our community and the business climate, with the goal of making Kalispell and the Flathead Valley an ideal location to live and work. The Chamber consists of 700 businesses and organizations, which employ over half of the workforce in Flathead County, Montana.

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