Around Idaho: Economic Activity in June 2019

Information provided in this article is from professional sources, news releases, weekly and daily newspapers, television and other media.

Northern Idaho
North Central Idaho
Southwestern Idaho
South Central Idaho
Southeastern
Eastern Idaho

 

NORTHERN IDAHO – Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai & Shoshone counties

Kootenai County

  • Seattle-based hardware retailer Hardwick and Sons is moving to Post Falls after nearly 90 years in Seattle’s University District. The store’s owners cited a growing tax burden in Washington as their primary motivation for relocating to northern Idaho. Source: Journal of Business
  • Gunfighters LLC, a gun holster manufacturer based in central Washington, is relocating its operations to Rathdrum. The company cited a more “gun-friendly culture” in Idaho, as well as a lack of space in their current facilities, as their reasons for moving to northern Idaho. Source: Journal of Business
  • A new jet center owned and operated by StanCraft is set to open at the Coeur d’Alene airport. The facility, which will create about 50 jobs, will be used to update aircraft and serve as a fueling station. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The Coeur d’Alene City Council approved plans to build a $2.6 million water administration building. The project will be funded entirely with the Water Department’s reserve funds. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The city of Athol received a Community Development Block Grant from the Idaho Department of Commerce to support a $3.5 million water improvement project. City officials initiated the improvement project, noting that the city’s aging water system lacks the necessary pressure to meet Idaho environmental quality requirements. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

Openings

  • White Brick Interiors in Coeur d’Alene.
  • Huhot Mongolian Grill in Coeur d’Alene.
  • Nate’s New York Pizza in Post Falls.

Move

  • Glo Bar Tanning Salon in Coeur d’Alene.

Sam.Wolkenhauer@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 457-8789 ext. 4451

NORTH CENTRAL IDAHO – Clearwater, Idaho, Latah, Lewis and Nez Perce counties

Region

  • The Region II Professional Technical Academy will provide at least 45 north central Idaho students a certified nursing assistant course (CNA) without fees. The Lewis-Clark Valley Healthcare Foundation awarded the program $10,000. Clearwater Economic Development Administration wrote the grant request for the Cottonwood School District, which manages the Region II Academy. The academy provides online training in health care careers for Idaho high school students. Source: CEDA News
  •  “Ex-Offenders – The Untapped Workforce,” was the topic of a June 19 luncheon at Walla Walla Community College’s Clarkston campus. The Idaho Department of Labor, in partnership with Southeast Washington Economic Development Association and WorkSource, presented information on how ex-offenders are prepared to re-enter the workforce, while discussing the resources and incentives available for hiring ex-offenders. Source: Idaho Department of Labor

Clearwater County

  • The Pierce Free Public Library celebrated its centennial June 17-22 with contests and events. About 600 people use the library each month — 100 more than the total population of Pierce. Many visitors spend a lot of time on computers—looking for work, filing for unemployment insurance and researching various topics. With many Pierce residents commuting long distances, audiobooks are very popular. Source: Lewiston Tribune; Clearwater Tribune
  • The Orofino Municipal Airport recently began several construction projects. The city awarded Boswell Asphalt Paving of Meridian the contract for pavement rehabilitation of the runway, taxiways, aprons and approach road. Another contractor will remove trees bordering the runway that potentially may obstruct the view. Another contractor will do excavation work at the northwest end of the runway for safety improvements. The construction projects should be completed by July 1. Source: Clearwater Tribune
  • Elk River, a city of 130 residents, broke ground on a new fire station June 3. Bulldog Construction is the main contractor for the $170,000 pole building slated for completion by the end of the summer. The city will undertake the project without grants. For the past eight years, it has raised money for the new station from an annual Fireman’s Auction. The new station on Bobcat Lane will have three bays allowing them to store both fire trucks and a brush truck. The fire department sold its old building to the Clearwater County ambulance unit to store an ambulance and search and rescue equipment. All fire crew members are volunteers. Source: Lewiston Tribune; Clearwater Tribune; KLEWtv
  • The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality awarded Elk River a grant of $32,500 for wastewater planning to determine improvements for Elk River’s system. The city also will provide $32,500. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Idaho and Lewis Counties

  • Mountain View School District — serving Grangeville, Kooskia and Elk City — cut seven positions in its 2019-2020 budget and reduced one elementary principal position to part time. The school board also approved reducing the district’s share of health care premium for spouses and children of staff members, from 70 percent to 40 percent. The premium reduction will occur only if accepted by the teachers’ union in labor negotiations. That challenge, along with a decline in enrollment that triggers a reduction in state support, prompted the district to look at money-saving measures. The result was this year’s budget was $165,000 less than the 2018-2019 school year. The district is under considerable distress – from declining enrollment, causing cuts in state funding, and reduction of federal Secure Rural Schools program funds. In May, voters in the district approved a $3 million one-year supplemental levy to help bridge the gap between what the state funds and the cost of operating the schools. Source: Lewiston Tribune; Idaho County Free Press
  • Riggins City Park now features a performance stage made possible by donations, a small grant and volunteer efforts. The musical and theater acts will not only entertain locals, but could bring many visitors. The city of 420 residents has increased its tourism sector over the last 20 years. Today, Riggins has six restaurants, four motels and vacation rentals, gift shops, coffee shops and bars. The park between U.S. Highway 95 and the Salmon River includes a boat ramp. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Voters in the May election turned down the Clearwater Water District’s request to issue additional water revenue bonds up to $250,000. Funds were to be used for additional and unanticipated costs for water system improvements. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • Voters in the Cottonwood School District approved a one-year supplemental levy expected to generate $325,000 to cover the excess cost not funded by the state for personnel, coaches, athletic activities, utilities and supplies. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Nezperce School District’s one-year supplemental levy passed in the May election. It will generate about $445,000 to maintain staffing levels, operate the district’s swimming pool, building upkeep, extracurricular activities and the preschool program. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Salmon River School District, based in Riggins, received approval from voters in May for a one-year supplemental levy expected to generate $525,000. It will pay for staffing, insurance, maintenance, operations and the preschool program. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Latah County

  • The University of Idaho broke ground in early June on the $51 million Idaho Central Credit Union Arena to host basketball games. The 62,000-square-foot arena will hold 4,200. Built almost entirely of Idaho-grown wood, it will be the first timber sports arena in the nation. It will include an alumni center and will be a venue for concerts, conventions and cultural events, as well as for both men’s and women’s basketball. The 91-year-old Memorial Gym, where most basketball games are played currently, will be repurposed when the new arena opens in the fall of 2021. The school’s athletic director believes a state-of-the-art facility will enhance the school’s ability to recruit athletes. Source: Lewiston Tribune; Spokesman-Review
  •  Moscow voters approved a 10-year, $9.64 million bond to fund construction of a new police station. The $7.89 million facility will be built at the corner of South Main Street and Southview Avenue. Construction is expected to start next spring and take about a year to complete. Currently, 37 police officers are occupying space in a building designed for 18. With more space, the new police station is expected to improve efficiency, lift officer morale and help attract qualified recruits. The bond will also cover the $1.5 million cost to remodel the existing police station to accommodate other city office needs and provide $132,000 for renovation of the Paul Mann Building next to Moscow City Hall. Source: Lewiston Tribune; Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • The University of Idaho opened its new 9,000-square-foot, $2.6 million aquaculture research institute in May. The facility includes offices, a conference space, tanks for rearing fish and shrimp, and laboratories for research to improve commercial aquaculture production and to restore native fish populations in the region. It will give graduate and undergraduate students more opportunities to be involved with research. Before this, the university’s main aquaculture research center was in Hagerman in south central Idaho. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • A crisis center is expected to open this summer next to the Latah Recovery Community Center in downtown Moscow. It will be the first center in north central Idaho for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. The crisis center will contain semi-private resting rooms, office spaces, a kitchen, shower and restroom and staffed with at least two mental health specialists. The state of Idaho will fund the crisis center, and the recovery center next door will manage the crisis center. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • The rising real estate market in the county means residential property owners may see an increase between 4 percent to 36 percent in the value of their homes for 2019, the Latah County Assessor’s Office announced. Rural properties will see increases of about 11 percent on average, while duplexes and multi-family dwellings in Moscow may increase as much as 36 percent. Single-family residences in Moscow will see increases between 6 percent to 18 percent. Increases in Genesse run between 5 percent and 25 percent, and in Troy and Potlatch between 5 percent and 14 percent.  Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • The Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM) Council awarded a $274,167 grant to the University of Idaho to support research and development in additive manufacturing techniques through a partnership with Premier Technology — an engineering and manufacturing company based in southeastern Idaho. The project, which focuses on laser metal deposition, is a collaboration between UI, the Idaho National Lab, the Center for Advanced Energy Studies and Boise State University. The IGEM program, administered by the Idaho Department of Commerce, offers grants to Idaho’s research universities, which partner with Idaho companies on projects to bring new technologies to market. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News; Idaho Business Review
  • Voters in the Whitepine School District — covering Deary, Bovill and Elk River — passed a one-year supplemental levy estimated to provide $880,000. The levy helps maintain educational and extracurricular programs and the district’s preschool program. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Moscow City Council unanimously approved an amendment to its residential building codes on June 3, allowing for the construction of tiny homes — houses of 400 square feet or less. Tiny home supporters say they can help communities address affordable housing concerns, as well as provide a sustainable alternative to large, modern homes. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Nez Perce and Asotin Counties

    • For the 28th year, the Avista National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) World Series was held in Lewiston the last full week of May. Ten of the best college baseball teams throughout the U.S. gather in Lewiston in May every year for a weeklong, double-elimination tournament to determine the baseball champion of the NAIA, drawing hundreds of baseball fans, family and friends. This year, the event’s all-time high attendance reached 1 million. Source: Lewiston Tribune
    • In the fiscal year that began July 1, the Port of Lewiston will invest approximately $827,000 in economic development projects. It will spend $500,000 to expand its dark fiber optic network. The port currently has 28-miles of fiber optic cable installed. Commissioner Mike Thomason said, “High speed, redundant, internet is essential infrastructure for long-term job growth in Nez Perce County.” Other economic development investments include $155,000 worth of improvements to its incubator, industrial parks and rail. It also is spending $50,000 on the Confluence Riverfront Park industrial area. Source: Port of Lewiston News Release
    • Developer Mark Heuett plans to construct a new 20,000-square-foot regional maintenance facility for the Bonneville Power Administration on three of the acres he leases from the Port of Clarkston. Bonneville Power markets wholesale electrical power from 31 federal hydroelectric projects in the Northwest, one nonfederal nuclear plant and several small nonfederal power plants. The facility will have three buildings and replace its existing location in North Lewiston. The Clarkston site provides more robust infrastructure for telecommunications and security as well as a better building layout for employees. Source: Lewiston Tribune
    • The Lewiston School Board approved a proposed general fund budget of almost $44.4 million for the coming school year, up from the $43.2 million spent in the last year. The increases chiefly come from pay raises and bumps in retirement and other benefit expenses. The board gave a 3.1 percent pay increase to classified employees, administrators and supervisors. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Kathryn.Tacke@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 799-5000 ext. 3984

SOUTHWESTERN IDAHO – Ada, Adams, Boise, Canyon, Elmore, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, Valley & Washington Counties

Ada County

  • Boise State University’s arena will be rebranded as The ExtraMile Arena Aug. 1. The era of the 15-year Taco Bell Arena came to an end when the university signed a new 15-year, $8.4 million agreement with ExtraMile Convenience Stores LLC. The university will receive more than $550,000 annually. ExtraMile is a joint venture between Chevron, USA and Jacksons Food Stores Inc. ES-O-En Management LLC, the Meridian-based Taco Bell Franchisee, chose not to renew the agreement. Taco Bell Arena in 2004 was the first major athletic naming rights contract for Boise State University. Albertsons Stadium followed in 2014 for an arena previously known as The Pavilion. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Meridian was the fifth fastest-growing city in the country according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s city population data for July 1, 2017 – July 1, 2018. Meridian had a 6.1 percent increase in population during that time, a gain of 6,140 residents, for a total population of 106,804 in 2018. Last year Meridian was ranked 10th fastest-growing city with a 4.7 percent increase, and the year before it was ranked 13th. Source: Idaho Press
  • Tech start-up Lawn Love has made its app available in Boise. The app pairs customers with local lawn care providers and takes a portion of the fees in exchange for the convenience. The company has hundreds of customers in Boise and partnerships with more than 40 Boise lawn care businesses. The company completes a background check and an assessment of lawn care skills before a lawn care service is added to the list. Users can schedule a wide range of services including mowing, weeding, aeration, gutter cleaning and more. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Boise State University announced it would build a baseball stadium rather than join a public-private partnership between the city of Boise and Atlanta-based developer Chris Schoen. The stadium will be built on campus, north of West Beacon Street, between Euclid and Denver avenues. It is estimated the cost will range from $8 million to $10 million. Source: Idaho Press
  • PIVOT Lifestyle + Fitness by KA opened June 11 in Ten Mile Crossing. The new health and fitness center was developed by three-time Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong. This is the first of four PIVOT centers slated to open in the Treasure Valley. The other locations opening in the next three to 10 months include Pioneer Crossing in downtown Boise, Barber Station in southeastern Boise and Eagle View at Eagle and Overland roads. Source: Meridian Press
  • The Kleiner Park fishing dock opened to the public May 10. The new dock makes fishing in the pond more accessible for seniors and wheelchair users by allowing them to get closer to the water and giving them a designated place to cast their line. The pond is stocked with rainbow trout throughout the year by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Source: Meridian Press
  • Johnson Brothers, a building materials supplier, has a new design center and showroom in Boise. An open house was held June 20 at the newly renovated building on South Cole Road. It is nearly three times the size of the previous space. Johnson Brothers is a family-owned and operated business and has a second location in Idaho Falls. The two stores employ more than 60 workers. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • A new subdivision is planned for the corner of North McDermott and West McMillan roads in Meridian. Trilogy Development is partnering with Biltmore Co. and Tresidio Home to construct the 401-home Gander Creek subdivision. West Ada School District plans to open its new Owyhee High School just south of the new subdivision in the fall of 2021. The school district also plans to build an elementary school nearby in the future. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The Meridian City Council approved a new impact fee structure on June 19. Beginning in October, developers in Meridian will pay impact fees based on the size of the residential unit they are building rather than a flat fee per unit. It is estimated that Meridian will gain 35,000 more residents and pay $61.8 million in growth-related costs over the next decade. The new impact fees will cover an estimated $47.6 million of that. The new fee structure ranges from $1,095 to $3,433 per unit, depending on size. The average residential impact fee under the new structure is estimated to be $2,943, a 46 percent increase. The commercial impact fee will increase by 87 percent from $.47 per square foot of nonresidential development to $.88 per square foot of commercial development. Source: Idaho Press

Adams County

  • Voters in the Meadows Valley School District in May approved a proposed two-year supplemental property tax levy that will raise $189,000 each year. The new levy will replace the current levy of $153,000 a year and be used to add staff for required graduation classes, continue two positions that teach electives, up-to-date curricular materials and additional instruction for students not scoring adequately on state tests. Source: McCall Star-News
  • The Nez Perce Tribe reopened Zim’s Hot Springs near New Meadows May 24. After it purchased the resort this spring the tribe closed the resort to prepare for reopening. Zim’s features two outdoor hot pools ranging from 90 to 106 degrees, a 4,000-square-foot lodge, RV parking and hook-ups, a campsite and a covered pavilion with tables. Source: Idaho County Free Press

Canyon County

  • Owners of Scoria Vineyards, Sydney Weitz-Nederend and her husband, James Nederend, are buying Koenig Vineyards. Both vineyards are located in the Sunnyslope area west of Caldwell. Sunnyslope is part of the Snake River Valley Appellation, one of the three American Viticultural Areas in Idaho. The sale includes the Koenig brand, its 17,000-square-foot production facility, tasting room, contracts to produce wine for other wineries and 10 acres of vineyards. The winery produces about 7,000 cases of its own wine annually. Greg Koenig and his assistant produce most of Scoria’s wins and will remain for two years to help with the transition. Koenig and his wife Kristen plan to shift their focus to small-batch reserve wines and plan to launch a winery focused on Cabernet Sauvignon at the Fraser Vineyard, which they purchased last fall after leasing the vineyard since 2014. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Price Pump Manufacturing is up and running in Caldwell’s Sky Ranch Business Park. After breaking ground on its 46,000-square-facility in August 2018, it now manufactures centrifugal and air-operated diaphragm pumps used in MRI units in hospitals, in cooling units for computer chip makers and in wastewater systems, among other uses. Twenty of Price Pump’s 36 employees in California moved to Idaho to stay with the company. The company has hired another 10 people from the Treasure Valley and is looking for another five or six. Source: Idaho Press
  • The National Main Street Center announced the launch of the Kevin and Mary Daniels Fund to help stimulate Nampa’s Main Street Program and revitalization efforts for downtown. The fund was established in appreciation for the Daniels’ contributions to the community. The fund has received nearly $100,000 in donations. The money will be used to help improve the facades of downtown Nampa’s historic buildings. Source: KBOI News
  • R&M Steel Co. is celebrating 50 years of doing business. The company’s pre-engineered buildings can be found in commercial complexes, school and church sties around southwest Idaho, though agriculture drives the major demand. R&M employs about 72 in a building of 96,000 square feet on 10 acres in Caldwell. The owners grow hay on a contiguous 70 acres and own a nearby 13-acre rail yard. This year the plan is to add building and track infrastructure at the rail yard to handle additional products. Source: Capital Press
  • A new 62-acre subdivision in north Caldwell received approval from Caldwell City Council. The Meridian-based developer, Trilogy Development, plans to bring 187 single-family residential lots and 17 common lots to the southwest corner of Marble Front and KCID roads. There will be a mix of one- and two-story homes with an average lot size of around 8,000 square feet on low-density residential zoned property. There will be three large green areas for recreation with a playground and a sitting area, as well as pathways throughout. Prices will range from $280,000 to $400,000. Source: Idaho Press
  • Saint Alphonsus announced in June that its Nampa hospital on 12th Avenue Road will be demolished after being vacant for two years. Saint Alphonsus opened a new hospital near the Garrity Boulevard and Interstate 84 exchange in the summer of 2017. Attempts to sell the building were not successful, so after the demolition, the land will be for sale. Demolition date is still to be determined. Source: Idaho Press
  • College of Western Idaho board approved a $70.5 million budget for fiscal year 2020 and chose to keep most tuition and student fees the same. The cost of duel credits, which are typically earned by high school students, will go up from $65 to $75. A college student’s cost per credit is $139. The new budget is about $4 million higher than last year and will cover 17 new positions. Source: Idaho Press

Payette County

  • D. L. Evans Bank recently opened a permanent branch in Fruitland. Engineered Structures Inc. of Meridian was the main contractor for the 5,000-square-foot building. For the past six years, the branch has been in temporary location. The new branch is half a mile away from the temporary location. Source: Idaho Business Review

Valley County

  • To attract technology workers to the greater McCall area, the West Central Mountains Economic Development Council McCall hopes to improve broadband internet. At the council’s annual summit in October, participants identified the lack of sufficient broadband as the area’s biggest barrier to economic development. In Valley County, there currently is a patchwork of fiber optic and copper infrastructure, largely owned by Frontier Communications and Cable One. Internet access is so underperforming that retail stores have difficulties completing credit card transactions during the summer. Better service would allow expansion of medical services and better public safety among other advantages. Enticing tech workers from expensive places such as Silicon Valley and Seattle to live in the McCall area and telecommute requires high-speed Internet access. It also is important for attracting young talent to the area. The next step is a feasibility study analyzing the costs and benefits of ways of improving broadband. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • A $10.7 million federal grant will allow the McCall Municipal Airport to build a new taxiway. As required by the Federal Aviation Administration, the new taxiway will have a greater separation from the airport’s main runways than the current taxiway. The project will also remove the existing taxiway, install wildlife fencing around the south end of the airport, reroute storm water drainage, rearrange and refresh some apron parking and replace the lighted windsock at the airport. Construction is slated to start in the summer of 2020. Source: McCall Star-News
  • Property values in Valley County jumped 11 percent from a total of $4.03 billion in 2018 to $4.53 billion in 2019. Values increased most sharply on the lakefront. Median home prices were $395,000 in McCall and Lake Fork, $305,000 in Donnelly and $202,000 in Cascade. Agricultural farming and grazing land values saw very little change. Source: McCall Star-News
  • The Nez Perce Tribe threatened to sue Midas Gold Corp. under the Clean Water Act in early June, claiming the mining company is discharging arsenic and other heavy metals into the headwaters of the South Fork of the Salmon River. Midas Gold plans to reopen a gold and antimony mine dating back to the 1930s in the Stibnite area. The company has said it will remove the pollution left by previous owners and restore the area’s environment. According to the tribe, discharges from the open-pit mine enter creeks and the East Fork of the Salmon River, which provide habitat for spring and summer chinook salmon, steelhead and bull trout, all protected as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The mine is within the tribe’s historic homeland where tribal members continue to fish for salmon and steelhead under rights reserved in the Treaty of 1855. Source: Lewiston Tribune.
  • Voters in the McCall area rejected the proposed creation of a Northern Valley Recreation District in the May 21 election. The recreation district would have taxed property values in the northern half of Valley County at a rate of $30 per $100,000 in value. The district would have had an initial budget of $1 million per year. Source: McCall Star-News
  • McCall-Donnelly School District trustees approved a $17.6 million budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year that began July 1. That’s up from $16.7 million in the year that just ended. The increased funding will primarily flow to raises for staff, facility improvements and three additional teachers needed to keep up with enrollment growth. Beginning teacher wages increased from $39,000 in the previous year to $42,000, while wages of teachers at the top end of the salary schedule increased from $69,000 to $72,000. The base salary increase for all teachers and support staff is 4.5 percent. The district plans to spend about $75,000 to surface the track at the athletic complex, $25,000 to remodel the high school science lab, $40,000 to replace floors in four classrooms and $9,000 to replace environmental controls at the Morgan school. Source: McCall Star-News
  • Donnelly voters in the May election approved a 10-year extension of the city’s local-option taxes. They renewed the current 1 percent general sales tax and 3 percent tax on motels, hotels and short-term rentals. The taxes provided nearly $77,000 in 2018. Donnelly first imposed local option taxes in 2008, using the money for water system improvements, electronic speed check signs, public pathways and streetscape improvements. Source: McCall Star-News

Openings

  • Fast Eddy’s, a gas station, convenience store, car wash and lube shop, opened a new location on North Eagle Road. The operation also features an Earl of Sandwich shop, the first in Idaho for the Orlando, Florida-based company.
  • Del Taco opened on 21st Avenue in Caldwell.
  • bēi Lounge opened in the Yen Ching Building on Ninth and Bannock Streets in Boise.
  • RamaPong opened on North Capitol Boulevard in Boise.
  • Rolling H Cycles, a bicycle shop, opened at a new location on First Street South in Nampa.
  • Faith Outdoors, a gun and hunting equipment shop, opened near the Amalgamated Sugar factory in Nampa in June.
  • Cottages Assisted Living & Memory Care opened June 20 on West Everest Lane in Boise.
  • Idaho Department of Fish and Game southwest regional office moved from South Powerline Road to a building near the corner of North Idaho Center Boulevard and Franklin Road in Nampa.
  • Revel Eagle, a 146-unit upscale senior community, held its grand opening June 13 in Eagle.
  • Two new parks in Nampa will open this summer. Newly constructed playgrounds replaced the outdated playgrounds at Liberty Park, which reopened in June, and a new small neighborhood park, Kings Road Park, will open July 9 on Little John Court.
  • Antlers Boutique, a new clothing and local product store, opened in Nampa in May.

Closings

  • Salvation Army thrift store, the last one located in Boise, closed June 14.
  • Artisan Optics in downtown Boise closed its store in May. The location near Boise Towne Square Mall is still open.
  • The Counter Custom Burgers in Meridian closed June 9.

Janell.Hyer@labor.idaho.gov, senior economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 332-3570 ext. 2330

SOUTH CENTRAL IDAHO – Blaine, Camas, Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka and Twin Falls counties

Blaine County

  • Ketchum City Council heard a new hotel proposal for Ketchum’s gateway entering from the south. The 100-room hotel is in the concept stage with a traffic report requested by the city and paid by the developer PEG Companies of Provo, Utah. This is west of the long-awaited Auberge boutique hotel initially proposed in 2008. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Power Engineers, headquartered in Hailey, received the American Council of Engineering Companies National Recognition Award for its design work on Kizildere-3 geothermal plant in Turkey. The plant added 165 MW of power to Turkey’s power grid. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Property values for Blaine County increased for the sixth year in a row, rising by 6 percent to a base of $10.5 billion. Hailey and Sun Valley had the highest increase with 9.68 percent growth from 2018 to 2019. The pre-recession property tax base was above $12 billion. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Camas County

  • A stalled subdivision in Camas County has gained renewed interest as a potential source of affordable housing. Two homes built before the Great Recession halted all construction at the subdivision. An estimated 10- to 15-year buildout is the timeline, with 31 lots available for about $30,000. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development loan program could help homeowners defray home financing costs with home prices estimated between $210,000 and $240,000. The proposed market is the workforce in Blaine County who cannot afford high home prices. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Cassia County

  • GESS International North Carolina, Inc. announced plans to build six new anaerobic digesters for six nondisclosed dairies around the Burley area. The biogas generated can power 6,800 homes annually per plant. The company plans to transport it to California through Idaho’s natural gas pipeline. The company reports an investment of $240 million investment, hiring almost 100 workers that will be on a 24/7 schedule 365 days of the year. Construction starts later this year with operations online by late 2020. Occupations needed at each plant include transportation, mechanical, inventory and plant managers, truck drivers and plant laborers. Source: Times-News
  • City of Burley patrons renewed a two-year operating override levy for the Burley Public Library. Source: Times-News

Jerome County

  • Seven single-family building permits were pulled in Jerome County for May 2019. Construction costs for these seven homes total just over $1.2 million, averaging $173,500 per home. This is three times the volume and value of permits pulled in April 2019. Source: Jerome County website.

Minidoka County

  • The Minidoka County Joint School District general obligation bond failed at the polls in May, same as in March, but with fewer votes against it. The $21 million bond garnered 54 percent in favor, but the bond required 66.67 percent to pass. The funding is needed to add or enhance classrooms, gyms, agricultural buildings, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, restrooms, and career and technical education rooms. Source: Times-News

Twin Falls County

  • Chobani paid off hot lunch debt for 900 students at the Twin Falls School District amounting to $85,000 over the past year. The school district ensures students have lunch even when their lunch debt is outstanding. Some school districts nationally no longer provide lunch if debit is owed. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Voters in the city of Twin Falls did not pass the almost $36 million bond funding for new fire stations in May. The police force was to gain a public safety building as part of the plan, but the 63.45 percent of voters supporting the bond was not enough to hit the super majority 66.67 percent approval needed. The bond’s repayment timeframe was 20 years. It would have added about $75 to the tax bill of a $200,000 home. An eight-person committee comprised of citizens and firefighters started the process in 2017 and used a professional estimating firm to ensure the costs are solid. Fire Chief Les Kenworthy said they would try to pass the bond again. Source: KMVT News and Times-News
  • The Twin Falls School District Board of Trustees approved the use of GPS tracking devices by parents while students are at school and school-related activities. The Idaho School Board Association did not approve the listen-in technology as part of the broad policy, primarily due to privacy rights of other students. There are special needs student who will benefit from use of these tracking devices according to parents who approached the school district. Source: Times-News
  • The single-family building permits pulled within the city of Twin Falls so far this year has outpaced the last decade and then some. There were 144 permits pulled year-to-date through May 2019. The last time these totals were high was May 2006 with pre-recession year-to-date levels of 291. In 2006, total single-family permits pulled totaled 547. Existing and new home inventories are low with population growth at a slower pace of one percent from 2017-2018, still adding 500 new residents over the year. The city has grown an estimated 12 percent since the 2010 U.S. Census, adding 5,200 residents. Twin Falls continues to be the eighth largest city in Idaho. Source: City of Twin Falls and Population Estimates Program, US Census Bureau.
  • Chobani and the Twin Falls County Assessor’s office reached a settlement on the assessed valuation of the Greek yogurt plant in Twin Falls. It was originally valued at $393 million in 2017 and the county agreed to drop the valuation to $249 million. Chobani had originally been pushing for a $176 million valuation. The 2018 assessment is $274 million, and a better reflection of the current value, according to Assessor Brad Wills. The Twin Falls School District will need to return approximately $803,000 to the coffers. Chobani will pay more than $5 million in property taxes in 2019. Source: Times-News

Openings

  • McCain Foods potato processing plant expansion in Burley hosted a grand opening ceremony. Its staff hired 180 workers through varying methods such as using apprenticeships and applying strategic recruiting and marketing efforts within Idaho and surrounding western states. Source: Times-News and regional economist
  • The Hampton Inn in Burley held a soft opening for its 80-room property near the Snake River. It is scheduling a grand opening after it has been open 45 days. Source: Hampton Inn Burley General Manager
  • NewCold held a grand opening of its state-of-the-art frozen warehouse facility in Burley, providing storage for McCain Foods frozen potato products. Its ceiling is 140 feet and can store 90,000 pallets. The company estimates its staff will eventually reach 80 workers, with automation an integral part of its process. Source: www.newcoldburley.com
  • Family Dollar Store held a grand reopening at newly renovated stores in Wendell and Twin Falls. Source: Times-News
  • Hip2BU Salon hosted a ribbon cutting for its new full-service salon in Kimberly. Source: Times-News
  • North Canyon Medical Center hosted a ribbon cutting at is first Twin Falls location. Its new clinic provides orthopedic and sports medicine services with onsite X-rays available. Source: Times-News
  • Dutch Brothers opened its second coffee and drink drive-through location in Twin Falls. Source: Times-News

Closure

  • Salvation Army Thrift Store is closing with seven employees losing jobs. Source: Times-News

Jan.Roeser@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 735-2500 ext. 3639

SOUTHEASTERN IDAHO – Bannock, Bear Lake, Bingham, Caribou, Franklin, Oneida & Power counties

Bannock County

  • The city of Chubbuck’s newly approved construction impact fees will help the city pay for additional services needed as the community grows. The fees, which require developers of all new homes and businesses to pay into a city impact fund, will help the community cover the cost of providing police, fire and park services to more people. Chubbuck’s police and fire fees went into effect on March 26, and the park fees went into effect June 3. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The Pocatello Regional Airport will soon apply for a $700,000 federal grant to support direct daily service to Denver. United Airlines has expressed interest in offering the flight. Source: Idaho State Journal

Bingham County

  • Bingham Memorial Hospital (BMH) presented the citizens of Bingham County with a check for $657,281. This is the latest payment made since the county entered into the Liquid Asset Transfer Agreement in 2007 when the hospital converted from a county-operated facility to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation – BHM Inc. Since 2007, BHM Inc. has contributed nearly $5 million to Bingham County’s general fund to the benefit of the citizens. Source: Morning News
  • According to a SmartAsset study, Eastern Idaho State Fair placed second in the nation as being one of the best state fairs of the 36 fairs studied in the United States. The ranking was based on Idaho’s fair having the second-lowest adult admission price and on record attendance of 248,000 last year – roughly 14 percent of Idaho’s population. Source: Morning News

Franklin County

  • The Franklin County Medical Center had an open house to showcase its newly remodeled specialty clinic. The clinic is now able to serve more patients with additional doctors. The new addition cost $48,000, which was paid for by $9,700 in employee giving, $5,000 from Rocky Mountain Power and $33,000 from Health Care Foundation funds. Source: The Preston citizen
  • Franklin County will no longer participate in the Four County Alliance Economic Program. The county will instead work with the city of Preston and other cities within the county to develop business activity. Franklin County has participated in the Four County Alliance Economic Program for about 20 years. Source: The Preston citizen

Openings

  • Citizens Community Bank Branch in Chubbuck.
  • Ace Hardware in Montpelier.

Esther.Eke@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 236-6710 ext. 4331

EASTERN IDAHO – Bonneville, Butte, Clark, Custer, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, Madison & Teton counties

Idaho National Laboratory

  • When the next Mars rover launches into space in July 2020, it will be powered by a piece of Idaho. The radioisotope power system that powers the rover, a vehicle that can land on and explore the surface of Mars, will be assembled and tested at the Materials and Fuels Complex at Idaho National Laboratory. The space nuclear power program employs 60 to 65 people, a little more than 1 percent of the lab’s employees. The funding it brings to INL can range from $20 million to $50 million a year. Source: Post Register
  • Federal officials are taking public comments on a plan to build a 16.5-mile power line at the 890-square-mile federal site that includes the Idaho National Laboratory. This is part of a cybersecurity effort to bolster protections for the nation’s electric grid. The new line would be used to supply energy to facilities at the site. The existing line would continue to be used for testing. The new line, costing about $18 million, would run parallel to the existing line. Source: Post Register
  • Two Idaho National Laboratory facilities involving cybersecurity that will likely take part in electric grid testing are currently being built in Idaho Falls. A new 80,000-square-foot building called the Cybercore Integration Center will hold 20 laboratories and 200 workers. Another 67,000-square-foot building called the Collaborative Computing Center will house one of the nation’s most powerful supercomputers. The two buildings are expected to be finished in October at a cost of about $85 million. Source: Post Register

Bonneville County

  • The Idaho Falls City Council voted to approve annexing 119 acres east and south of the Sage Lakes Golf Course. The land in question is part of the Fairway Estates development and is west of North Fifth East. Most of it will be zoned for residential use, although small businesses such as convenience stores will be allowed in certain sections. Source: Post Register
  • Construction on West Broadway in downtown Idaho Falls is almost complete. The project, which will beautify the sidewalks on West Broadway between Memorial Drive and Yellowstone Avenue, is on track to be completed within the next couple of weeks. Source: Post Register

Jefferson County

  • The new 10,000-square-foot Dollar Tree store located at 131 W. Main St. in Rigby is scheduled to open in late September 2019. A store of this size typically employs 12 to 20 associates. There is a Dollar Tree in Pocatello, Chubbuck, Blackfoot and Rexburg. The Rigby store will be the ninth location in east Idaho. Source: East Idaho News

Madison County

  • East Idaho Credit Union broke ground on a new branch in Rexburg. Construction on the new branch, located at 310 N. 2nd East, is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The 1.2-acre parcel will host the 2,500-square-foot branch with drive-up ATM and two drive-up lanes. Source: East Idaho News
  • Brigham Young University-Idaho spring semester enrollment totals for 2019 show growth among the entire student population, according to a recent news release from the university. Statistics released show 20,388 campus-based students furthering their academic pursuits, a .7 percent increase over last spring’s enrollment of 20,246. The number of online students for the spring 2019 semester was 10,691, an increase of 11.2 percent over last spring’s comparable online student enrollment of 9,615. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal
  • The Rexburg Animal Shelter has begun construction on its new front entrance and cat viewing area. The construction project costs less than $50,000. Money for the addition is funded with grants from PetSmart Charities, the Petco Foundation and the ASPCA Northern Tier Shelter Initiative. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal
  • Basic American Foods, a Walnut Creek, California-based food corporation, is expanding its Rexburg facility, a $125 million project that is expected to add 40 new jobs. Rexburg has become an attractive place to do business, not just for companies looking for a location in business-friendly Idaho, but for homegrown businesses as well. Source: Post Register

Openings

  • La Michoacana Ice Cream Palace in Idaho Falls.
  • K-Lani’s dessert shop in Rexburg.
  • Tru by Hilton in Idaho Falls.
  • A second Little Caesars Pizza Restaurant in Idaho Falls.
  • The Broadway Plaza in Idaho Falls.
  • Eagle Rock Gymnastics Academy in Idaho Falls.
  • Vern’s RadioShack in Idaho Falls.
  • Kelly Canyon Ski Resort bike park in Ririe.

Esther.Eke@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 236-6710 ext. 4331

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