Around Idaho: Economic Activity in July 2019

Information provided in these news updates 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

Bonner County

  • Tamarack Aerospace, a Sandpoint-based manufacturer of airplane winglets, has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company has reduced its staff from 25 at the beginning of the year to 16. It will continue to operate after entering the reorganization bankruptcy. Source: Journal of Business

Kootenai County

  • Hayden-based manufacturer StanCraft Boat Co. is moving forward with construction of its new Jet Center at the Coeur d’Alene Airport. Representatives for StanCraft, which manufactures luxury watercraft, characterized the move to redo jet interiors as a natural dovetail from their current business. The Jet Center is scheduled to open in the spring of 2020. Source: Journal of Business
  • Northwest Specialty Hospital in Post Falls has opened a new Endoscopy Center. The new wing adds nearly 9,000 square feet to the facility, adding procedure rooms and post-operative care space. Source: Journal of Business
  • The city of Post Falls has agreed to purchase 10 acres of right-of-way from Union Pacific Railroad as part of an ongoing effort to eliminate the rail spur line so that the Prairie Trail can be extended northward. The trail extension project is intended to improve the connectivity of the region as well as improve public safety by eliminating multiple public rail crossings. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

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 Idaho State Police recently reported crime statistics for 2017 to 2018 show a decrease in crime in most of north central Idaho. The crime rate dropped in three of the region’s counties — Lewis (38 percent), Latah (24 percent) and Clearwater (15 percent) in 2018. Nez Perce County experienced a 3 percent increase. In Idaho County, crime rate jumped 19 percent mostly because of an increase in drug and narcotics crimes. From 2017 to 2019, those crimes rose 90 percent from 125 incidents to 237. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Harvest of wheat and legumes, which normally starts in the low-lying farms near Lewiston in the last couple of weeks in July, this year started in early August. That makes it likely that harvest will begin a couple of weeks later than normal — in late August — on the Camas Prairie and the Palouse. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Clearwater County

  • Clearwater County is moving closer to an agreement with Bountiful Grains and Craig Mountain Railroad to build a rail line from the former Jaype mill site near Pierce to Orofino. Idaho Forest Group wants to transport logs from the Jaype area by rail. In 2018, a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery gave the county a $3.2 million grant to help replace three bridges and five public crossings along the rail line and install 46,000 railroad ties to rebuild the 73 miles of rail. Sources: Clearwater Tribune; Lewiston Tribune
  • The Federal Aviation Administration will award $327,323 to Orofino Municipal Airport to improve the runway safety area, remove obstructions and repair the runway. Source: Clearwater Tribune
  • Since the Shopko Hometown Store in Orofino closed three months ago, two businesses have filled the prescription drug gap it left. Lewiston’s Hells Canyon Pharmacy opened Clearwater Canyon Pharmacy in Orofino, while Arnzen’s Drug added an Orofino location. . The Shopko closure, along with bad weather conditions, has contributed to recent increases in the county’s unemployment rate. Clearwater County Economic Development is hoping to find a business to fill the empty space. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Idaho Department of Lands sold North Town timber sale near Orofino in June to Empire Lumber Co. The area is expected to yield 7,690 board feet. The proceeds will benefit the public schools endowment. Source: Clearwater Tribune
  • The U.S. Forest Service approved a large timber project in the upper Lolo Creek drainage southeast of Pierce designed to improve forest health and feed logs to local mills. Developed in part with advice from the Clearwater Basin Collaborative and shaped by public comments and consultation with the Nez Perce Tribe, the project will make the area more resistant to insects, disease and wildfire. It will improve habitat for species like elk by increasing the age-and species-diversity of the forest, reduce insect and disease concerns in the watershed and produce an estimated 43 million board feet of timber, sustaining 963 jobs. It also will construct 300 feet of new motorized trail to create a 2-mile loop connecting existing trails. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • To ease the severe worker shortage, Clearwater County Economic Development developed a worker readiness project for people facing felony charges and involved with Clearwater County’s problem-solving court. The program gives participants a chance to develop references and guidance to pursue living-wage jobs that mesh with their strengths. It hones their math, computer and soft skills. Those who complete the program may have their charges dismissed or reduced to misdemeanors. The program also benefits local businesses, providing them with a more skilled, motivated workforce. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Idaho and Latah Counties

  • Hoene Hardware, one of the largest businesses in downtown Cottonwood, closed at the end of May after 111 years. With the exception of a few Century farms, it was the oldest family-owned business in Idaho County. In addition to hardware, it sold furniture, carpet, appliances, housewares, gift items and fishing tackle. Competition from online retailers and big box stores in Lewiston made the business no longer economically feasible. Source: Idaho County Free Press; Cottonwood Chronicle
  • New owners have purchased the former Mini-Village in Cottonwood and renamed it Coyote’s. The new owners, Barney and Bobbi Chambers, will be adding diesel and new gas pumps. They also are hoping to sell Idaho hunting and fishing licenses. Source: Cottonwood Chronicle
  • Pleasant Valley Homes, a business founded in Stites 20 years ago, manufactures its own log home packages. The company bought a small sawmill to cut logs and then pre-assemble the homes, disassemble them to move and reassemble them on the home sites. It also provides logs and other supplies for other log home companies. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Clearwater Basin Youth Conservation Corps began its 2019 season in mid-June. The program puts teenagers to work on projects in the national forest where they work alongside professionals with the Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers, National Park Service and Idaho Firewise. The youth work on projects to improve habitats for fish and wildlife, plant trees and create and maintain routes for visitors. The program, created in 2013, pays local youth while they experience the outdoors in a workplace setting and learn about a variety of natural resource careers. This summer it employs 32 youth and six crew leaders for eight weeks. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • One of the newest coins in the U.S. Mint’s America the Beautiful series honors the renowned Franck Church of No Return wilderness area. The Mint plans to issue one coin for each state featuring a park or related area. The quarter, which will make its debut in November, will be the 48th in the series. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Idaho’s oldest newspaper, the weekly Idaho County Free Press based in Grangeville, celebrated its 133rd anniversary in June. It’s the county’s oldest business, and has been owned by five different families over the years. Source: Idaho County Free Press

Latah County

  • Genesee chose a $6.14 million plan to improve its noncompliant wastewater treatment facility. City residents will be asked to vote on a bond Nov. 5 to fund the project. Mountain Waterworks expects construction will start in 2021 and finish in 2022. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • Happy Horizons Childcare opened a day care facility at Real Life Ministries in Moscow’s Eastside Marketplace in late August. It will serve 21 or more children under 6 years old, mostly from low-income families, and employ 10 to 20 people. It will be open year-round. Most day cares on the Palouse have waiting lists for children or are closed when schools are closed. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • The interior of the 92-year-old downtown Moscow Volunteer Fire Department station is receiving a $190,000 makeover. Sprenger Construction started the project in June and expects to complete it in August. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • Scott Green, a third-generation Vandal, became the University of Idaho’s 19th president in July. He hopes to meet with community leaders within the university, Moscow and the state to discuss challenges facing the school and potential solutions. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Construction of single-family residences is accelerating in Moscow, where homes command some of the highest prices in the region. In 2018, 37 homes were built there, and the city issued permits for another 20 houses in the first five months of this year. From 2008 to 2017, it issued 26 per year. The average price for a Moscow home is $290,284 compared with $277,175 in Pullman and $216,517 in Lewiston, Clarkston and Asotin. A number of reasons restrain housing construction such as a lack of available property; difficulties finding electricians, plumbers and other subcontractors; and the trend for young people to delay buying homes. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Opening

  • River Eats deli opened in June on Main Street in Riggins. White Bird Bar & Grill opened in June in the former Mac’s space in White Bird.

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

  • Eagle-based PetiQ acquired Perrigo’s animal health unit. PetiQ’s brand includes pet prescription medicine, over-the-counter treatments, pet supplies and treats. Perrigo, which is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, is moving away from its animal health line to a more consumer-focused company. Perrigo includes PetArmor, Sentry and Sergeants brands. Overall PetiQ had 1,452 employees, the majority of them working at its factories in Utah, Texas and Florida, and in pet clinics inside Walmart stores. Its Eagle headquarters employs about 40 people. PetiQ is just the eighth Idaho company whose shares now trade on a major stock exchange. The company distributes its products across a network of national retail stores in mass merchandisers, club, grocery, pharmacy and e-commerce channels. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • AmeriBen, a third-party administrator of employer-sponsored health benefits, has outgrown its facility at Ten Mile Crossing. The company moved to its current location two years ago. AmeriBen employs close to 850 employees, 500 of which work in the Ten Mile building. To make room for future employees, AmeriBen is expanding into a new facility next door in Ten Mile Crossing. The groundbreaking for the four-story, 120,000-square-foot new building occurred in July with an anticipated completion date in the summer of 2020. AmeriBen will lease half of the new building and expects to grow into the entire space in the next eight to 10 years. The company averages close to 15 percent growth in both revenue and personnel every year. Source: Meridian Press
  • Boise State University will offer three new online Masters in business administration (MBA) programs this fall. Each program targets students looking for a 100 percent online option. The first is targeted to students looking to build management in fields like architecture, engineering and construction. The other two areas are general management and health care leadership. The programs are tailored for students who work full time but want to increase their skills and capabilities. Source: BoiseDev
  • Boise Gateway Industrial Park is a new 159-acre industrial development project by Salt Lake City based Boyer Company. The city of Boise is leasing the land on West Eisenman near the WinCo Food Distribution Center to Boyer. The conceptual layout of the park shows as many as 22 buildings at full build-out with 1.6 million square feet of space. The first building concept is awaiting the approval from Boise’s Design Review Commission. Source: BoiseDev
  • Eight Thirty Common, a gastropub, opened in July in Meridian.
  • Meridian’s Majestic Cinemas has a new owner — Cinemark. The Dallas-based chain purchased the theater and another location in Walla Walla from Washington-based Hallett Cinemas. Cinemark is the world’s third-largest theater owner with more than 4,500 screens in the United States and nearly 6,000 globally. The Meridian theater is now known as the Cinemark Majestic Cinemas. It is the first location for the chain in Idaho. Source: BoiseDev
  • The Laird Norton Company (LNP) of Seattle is buying the U.S. Bank building and the Clearwater Building in downtown Boise from the Gardner Company, who will still be the property manager. Boise State University’s Computer Science Department will retain ownership of its condominium space in the Clearwater Building. Valley Regional Transit and the Greater Boise Auditorium District will continue to own and operate their respective condominium units. Source: KIVI-TV
  • CapEd Credit Union will construct a new building in Kuna to replace a temporary branch that’s more than a decade old. The new branch, to be built sometime in the next 12 to 14 months, will be located in the Kuna Marketplace, a new development at the corner of Deer Flat and Meridian roads, where a D&B Supply is under construction and a Primary Health clinic is planned. CapEd has 10 branches, nine in the Treasure Valley and one in Twin Falls. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • CBH Homes began its first phase of home sites in the Springhill subdivision located at Lake Hazel and Linder roads in the southern Meridian area. Springhill will include more than 650 home sites complete with a community pool, walking paths, proximity to a future technical high school and Kuna schools. With 13 homes currently on offer, prices range from $249,000 to $348,122 and offer several floor plans. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • A Seattle developer plans to convert 45 rooms at the Safari Inn in Downtown Boise into upscale apartments. Revolve Development bought the two-story 1905 Smith Block building and an adjacent three-story building for an undisclosed price from 11th & Main LLC, based in Ketchum. The two buildings are located across from The Owyhee, the former hotel that is now an upscale apartment building. The second and third floors of the three-story building contain 45 rooms that are part of the Safari Inn. An additional 60 hotel rooms are located in a separate building across the alley that is linked to the Smith Block by a second-floor sky bridge. The building has seven ground-floor businesses that will remain — Art Source Gallery, Walkwell Labs, Foot Dynamics, Iron Wolf Tattoo, dv8 Salon, Prestige Skateboards and the Atlas Bar. Plans call for about 40 apartments to be added. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Saltzer Health broke ground in July on a medical complex at Ten Mile Crossing west of Meridian. The complex will include an urgent care clinic open 24/7. The complex will also have an ambulatory surgery center, physician clinics, rehabilitation, physical therapy, imaging, lab and pharmacy. The new complex involves two four-story buildings and are part of the Saltzer Health and Ball Venture Ahlquist development. The complex is anticipated to be completed in 2020. Despite the major medical addition in Ten Mile Crossing, Saltzer Health’s headquarters would remain in Canyon County. Currently, Saltzer has seven locations in the Treasure Valley and employs about 50 doctors and providers. It is not currently known how many new staff will be hired, but Saltzer will take up a little more than half of the space with the remaining for other medical tenants. Source Meridian Press
  • The Ridge to River system in the Boise Foothills is going to gain 12 more miles of trails to address erosion, accessibility and congestion. The U. S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approved plans to expand, improving trails and a trailhead in the system, including construction of 4.3 miles of trail in three segments for hiking, biking and horseback riding. A 1.2-mile trail also will be constructed in Hull’s Gulch for mountain bikers looking for a downhill-oriented descent. About half of the trails will be on BLM-managed lands and the rest on Boise and Ada County land. The Cartwright Trailhead parking area will be expanded to accommodate about 30 vehicles. Two designated horse trailer parking spots, two accessible parking spaces and a vault toilet will also be constructed. Source: Idaho Press

Canyon County

  • Military and Veterans Health Program, a new service offered by Saint Alphonsus Health System, is designed to help active members of the armed forces, veterans and their families living in the Treasure Valley have an easier time accessing more comprehensive medical services. The focus will be on training the hospital’s providers and staff to respond to the unique health concerns and challenges of the military community. The program’s ongoing training will consist of familiarity with military service cultures (active duty, reserve and National Guard), as well as common diseases, injuries and exposures associated with active duty and deployed service members and veterans. Saint Alphonsus will pilot the program at the Nampa Medical Center, the South Nampa Saint Alphonsus Emergency Department and the Saint Alphonsus Medical Group Clinic. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Idaho ranks 49th in the nation for primary care physicians per capita, according to Family Medicine Residency of Idaho, which is hoping a new residency program will help boost the ranking. The residency has teamed up with St. Luke’s hospital in Nampa to launch a medical residency program. By 2028, the state of Idaho hopes to increase its total medical residents by nearly 300 percent. Source: KIVI
  • Indian Creek Plaza celebrated its first year anniversary in July. The plaza has hosted nearly 250 events, which has helped spur economic development throughout the city. An estimated 100 people visit the plaza each day to use the splash pad alone. About 35,000 skaters used the outdoor ice-skating ribbon in its first season. Organizers estimate attendance at all events this year had a roughly $2.3 million effect on Caldwell in stimulus spending based on an estimate that each person would spend at least $7 on such items as food, entertainment and beverages. Since the plaza opened, Soda Burst, The Good Spoon frozen yogurt shop, Idaho Soap Company, Bella Blue Boutique and the Grit 2C restaurant have opened. The plaza is owned by the city of Caldwell and managed by Destination Caldwell. Source: Idaho Press
  • Mercy Creek Apartments, new affordable senior complex, opened this recently. The 50-unit complex is built on the site of Nampa’s original Mercy Hospital. Rent averages between 20 percent and 50 percent under market rate, and residents must be 55 or older. Through an agreement with Nampa’s urban renewal agency, the developer is eligible for reimbursement up to $240,000 in tax credits for building the affordable housing. Source: Idaho Press
  • Sky Ridge Senior Apartments is another low-income senior housing project in Nampa. Sky Ridge is a 70-unit complex on Hawaii Ave. The new project began in June and is expected to take a year to complete. Source: Idaho Press
  • College of Western Idaho (CWI) has not given up on building a health science building and a student center in Nampa, plus a new campus in Boise’ west end. The voters failed to pass a bond by a very small margin in May. CWI is reducing its scope but the nursing and health science programs remain the college’s top priority. The school hopes to still fund additions to existing buildings and gain space for classrooms and labs by consolidating programs and remodeling some classrooms. There are three proposed options to fund the expansion — go back to the voters with a bond proposal, increase student tuition and fees to pay for a new multipurpose building in Nampa for $30 million, or remodel its existing buildings in at a cost of $15 million. The details of each option are being discussed. Source: Idaho Statesman

Elmore County

  • Cowgirl Compost, an all-natural compost produced from dairy cattle waste, will soon be available in Walmart. Owner Jennifer Cummins pitched the product to Walmart along with roughly 600 other companies. The company only uses dairy cow compost that, because dairy cows eat a very nutritious, well-rounded diet to help them produce milk, they produce nutrient-rich manure. It is then composted. The entire process takes nine months, and the result is a product that looks like dirt, has no smell and yet still has all the nutrients. The office is located in based in Boise, while the composting takes place in Hammett. The manure itself comes from dairies in the Magic Valley. Source: Idaho Business Review

Valley County

  • The Central Idaho Mountain Bike Association celebrated the grand opening of the first half of the 33-mile Payette Lake Trail in July. The nonprofit mountain bike group finished construction on six miles of the new trail, linking together more than 15 miles of the loop. Once finished, the trail will make a 33-mile loop around Payette Lake, tying in to existing trails in Ponderosa State Park and pathways in McCall. Source: McCall Star News
  • EnergySEAL is the first company in Valley County to be approved for the tax exemption the county commissioners adopted last year. The exemption is intended to provide tax relief to non-retail businesses that invest $500,000 or more in a facility in the county. EnergySEAL, which is making a $2.3 million investment, will receive a 90 percent reduction the first year, an 80 percent reduction for the second year, 60 percent for the third year, 40 percent for the fourth year and 20 percent for the fifth year, before being taxed at the full rate for each subsequent year. Founded in 1986, EnergySEAL installs insulation in homes and businesses to promote energy efficiency. Its new warehouse near McCall will allow it to expand its business. Source: McCall Star-News
  • After 41 years, Southside Grill and Cantina, also known as Si Bueno, closed in late July. A related business, All Events Catering, will continue to operate. The Southside Grill property across from the McCall airport is slated to become a medical building. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • McCall Transit recently added three new buses that will provide free service in McCall to passengers seven days a week. In addition, a bus will take passengers from McCall to Lake Fork, Donnelly and Cascade for a small fee Monday through Friday. Source: KTVB
  • Tamarack Resort Holdings (TRH) is a joint venture between The Imperium Companies, MMG Equity Partners and Blue River Family Office Partners. The resort is scheduled to open to skiers on Dec. 9 along with three new structures to be ready for shops, restaurants and residents this year. Three other buildings are set to be completed in time for the 2021 season. Nearby Donnelly is home to only about 150 full-time residents, and the primary employers have historically been schools, hospitals, farms and various service providers. Within the past two decades, the area has grown into a summer and winter tourist destination that brings visitors from throughout the West. Completion of the Tamarack Resort project has meant an increase in wages for construction workers, steady employment for service personnel at the resort and increased opportunity for local entrepreneurs. Currently it has provided about 80 construction jobs. Source: Idaho Business Review

Openings

  • Bird began renting e-scooters in Meridian on Aug. 1.
  • Eight Thirty Common, a gastropub, opened in July in Meridian.
  • The Water Bear Bar & Lounge opened in downtown Boise.
  • Albertsons held a grand reopening celebration for its newly remodeled store on Gary Lane and State St. in Boise.
  • Mo’ Bettahs, a new restaurant serving Hawaiian food, opened in July on East Louise Drive in Meridian. The restaurant is the first in Idaho with 10 locations in Utah.
  • Ā Café opened in June in downtown Boise.

Closings

  • Epek, a fine-dining experiment in the former State & Lemp building closed in July.
  • Charming Charlie, a jewelry and accessory store located in The Village at Meridian, is closing. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and plans to close all stores by Aug. 31.
  • Aero Caffee Coffee located on North Orchard Street closed in June after six years in business.

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

  • The Hailey City Council approved its new town square location at the corner of First Avenue and East Croy Street. The estimated construction cost of improvements to the real estate is $1.5 million with no money yet earmarked for this project. There is funding set aside for design and the city believes private donors will come forward with funding now that the venue is established. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Blaine County School District outperformed the state in teacher retention rates in 2018. Blaine County retained 92 percent of its teachers compared with the state overall, which retained only 84 percent. The school district pays a higher wage due to the high cost of living in Blaine County, making the Blaine County School District the highest average teaching salaries statewide. The school district also recruits out of state, leveraging its Sun Valley brand to attract teachers to the recreation-rich area. Source: IdahoEdNews.org

Camas County

  • The C Me Later Arena in Fairfield hosted the 11th annual Camas County Rodeo in July. The prizes total an estimated $4,800 and is a major event for the area. It is co-sanctioned by the Idaho Cowboys Association, the Intermountain Pro Rodeo Association and Pro-West. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Jerome County

  • Wanted Analytics reports almost 300 job postings from online sources for Jerome County. The most numerous employer-based job postings include Agropur, Forest Service, Jerome Joint School District and Idaho Milk Products. The most frequent occupations advertised are first-line supervisors of production and operating workers, customer service representatives, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, secondary school teachers, first-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers. These postings aggregated total 61 postings halfway through 2019. There were 60 for the same time span in 2018. Source: Wanted Analytics

Twin Falls County

  • The National Chamber of Commerce ranked Twin Falls eighth on a list of the top 15 places to live within Idaho. The ranking was based on five factors – employment, housing, quality of life, education and health. The top three cities were Moscow, Boise and Eagle, respectively. Source:  KMVT News
  • The second annual Twin Falls Old Town Criterium returned to downtown Twin Falls this summer. The bike-racing event is a collaboration between the city of Twin Falls, Cycle Therapy and Clif Bar. Former College of Southern Idaho dean, Terry Patterson, organized the inaugural event and stepped up again this year. This year the Twin Falls Criterium hosted the Idaho State Championship Criterium. Ketchum has hosted it in previous years. Source: Times-News
  • A new Women’s Center to encourage women entrepreneurial enterprise chose the Twin Falls Visitor’s Center for its offices. The Small Business Administration is funding three of these centers — one in Nampa, one in Boise and one in the Magic Valley. Source: Idaho Press
  • The Boys and Girls Club is expanding in Twin Falls. The facility has been successful on both sides of the supply and demand equation. Private industry is funding the new $2.1 million addition of almost 8,000 square feet, which will alleviate the long waiting list of kids who want to participate. Enrollment will move from 300 to 500 children, growing by two-thirds of its current enrollment. Construction is anticipated to be finished within a year. Source: Times-News

Openings

  • Cedar Draw Cider, located in Buhl, distributes its product locally. For now, it is a small batch company. Source: Times-News
  • The Buckle launched its youth equivalent store in the Twin Falls mall — a six-month test run of the store’s capacity to generate sales will determine its future. The Buckle has been a go-to choice for the Twin Falls regional hub for almost 30 years. The new store is located across the corridor from the regular store and has already exceeded expectations. Source: Times-News

Closures

  • Charming Charlies announced closures of its retail stores across the nation, including the one in Twin Falls. It opened in the fall of 2017. Source:  Idaho Business Review

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

  • A group of eastern Idaho developers has begun construction on the first phase of a massive project that will combine commercial, retail and residential development in the same east Chubbuck neighborhood. The 1,800-acre project named the New Day District is located in the large undeveloped area west of Interstate 15 between Tyhee and East Siphon roads – just west of the much anticipated Northgate Interchange. So far, construction has begun on a 72,000-square-foot assisted living center with 86 beds on about 6 acres of land. The construction of 1,000 to 1,200 residential dwellings in the New Day District is set to begin this fall. The project will include a combination of single-family homes, apartment complexes, duplexes and a retirement community. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The Arbon Valley/Pocatello Regional Airport is one of three regional airports that will share a portion of $495 million in Department of Transportation funding announced in June. The airport will receive $4.6 million for taxiway and apron repair. Funds also will be used to repair runway lighting and to install airport beacons. Other regional airports to receive funding include the Driggs’ Reed Memorial Airport and the Hailey Friedman Memorial Airport. Source: KIDK
  • Two eastern Idaho developers are partnering to build hundreds of new single-family homes, townhouses and fourplexes on 350 combined acres between Kraft and Trail Creek roads in Pocatello city’s west bench. The average prices of single-family homes will range from $200,000 to about $400,000. The developers plan to start selling lots for single-family homes in the Trail Creek addition this month. Some roadways have already been finished and others are under construction. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Officials with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality are not satisfied with two plans Pocatello has submitted regarding how the Northgate development will impact the city’s drinking and wastewater systems. Because of the unique public-private partnership involving Northgate’s developers, Pocatello and other municipal entities, the city’s plans provided to the DEQ require additional detail than normal, and the city is in the process of addressing the inadequacies. Until the concerns are addressed the city cannot proceed with providing the drinking water and wastewater infrastructure Northgate must have to become a reality. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The city of Pocatello has reached a $4.5 million settlement to a class-action lawsuit for assessing illegal fees on its water, sewer and sanitation services from 2005 into fiscal year 2014. Customers who were billed for municipal utility services between April 2012 and April 2014 should expect to receive a check this fall resulting from a recent legal settlement with the city. Source: Idaho State Journal

Bingham County

  • The Blackfoot Urban Renewal Agency (BURA) met in the Nuart Theater this month to tour the recent upgrades to the historic theater building downtown and to approve $1.2 million over the next three years to renovate the Milmor Hotel. In addition, BURA will continue to fund facade grants within its two business districts. Source: Bingham County Chronicle

Openings

    • Mental Health Specialists in Blackfoot
    • Hashtag Treats, a candy store in Shelley
    • DL Evans Bank in Blackfoot
    • PuroClean of Idaho Falls
    • Grove Creek Medical Center in Blackfoot
    • Minutemen Carpet Cleaning in Blackfoot
    • Crumbl Cookies in Pocatello

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 Lab

  • Researchers at Idaho National Laboratory are playing a key role in developing a propulsion system that could someday power a manned mission to Mars. The SIRIUS test program is researching nuclear thermal propulsion. It includes several dozen people at INL and researchers at other national laboratories such as Los Alamos and Oak Ridge national laboratories in New Mexico and Tennessee, respectively. The testing is being done at the Transient Reactor Test Facility at the Department of Energy’s desert complex west of Idaho Falls. Researchers conducted the first test, at half-power, on June 19. The next critical time period is in August, when researchers will test the fuel at full power. Source: Idaho Press
  • Plans to build the nation’s first small modular nuclear reactors to produce commercial power is a step closer to being realized. The Utah-based energy cooperative, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), announced that it has sales contracts for enough carbon-free power to begin a license application process with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build the reactors in eastern Idaho. The energy cooperative said it has carbon-free contracts for more than 150 megawatts. Its goal is to begin construction on the reactors in 2023, with the first reactor starting up in 2026. Source: Idaho Press

Bonneville County

  • Optum, the company that manages outpatient benefits for Idaho Medicaid recipients and the state Department of Health and Welfare, said it will provide $8.8 million of the money needed for renovation of the historic former Bonneville Hotel, representing the majority of the $11.4 million cost. The plan is to have commercial tenants on the first floor and renovate the rest into 35 new apartments, five of which will be leased at market rates and the rest according to income. Two apartments will be dedicated to people struggling with homelessness. Source: Post Register
  • From Jan. 1 to June 30, the Idaho Falls Airport handled nearly 165,000 total passengers. That’s about 20,000 more than flew through the airport during the first six months of 2018. Further additions to airport facilities are underway, such as a new baggage claim area, which is expected to be completed in October. Additional planned expansions include new security screening space, the addition of two new gates, new passenger boarding bridges, additional passenger gate waiting space and additional concessions and restaurant space. Source: Post Register
  • Idaho Falls Auditorium District officials say the organization is are on track to begin building the long-awaited event center. Estimates make it likely the district will be able to keep the cost of construction at the $62 million goal set by last year’s estimates or at least fall within the $2 million contingency budget for the district. Funding for the event center is also on track to cover the construction cost. The next stage of the construction would be installing utilities for the event center and beginning to lay the pad for the building. Source: Post Register
  • The Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center (EIRMC) emergency room was ranked as the #1 emergency department out of 185 HCA Healthcare hospitals nationwide. Each of the participating emergency departments within HCA Healthcare were evaluated and scored based on performance using about 45 specific metric points, according to a news release. HCA Healthcare has 185 hospitals and 1,800 care sites in 21 states and the United Kingdom. Source: East Idaho News

Custer County

  • The Challis Airport is among five in Idaho that will receive Federal Aviation Administration grants. The $477 million awarded to Idaho infrastructure projects was part of a total $3.18 billion awarded under the Federal Transportation Department’s Airport Improvement Program. The Challis Airport will receive $357,321 to reconstruct the runway lighting system. Boise, Orofino, Coeur d’Alene and McCall airports also won grants. The state of Idaho was awarded $415,000 to help update the state system plan study. Source: KIDK

Fremont County

  • The Broulim’s in St. Anthony is getting a new pharmacy and drive-thru window. The total remodel will add up to about 1,000 square feet and should be finished and ready for public use around mid to late October. Bateman Hall Inc. of Idaho Falls is the general contractor for the project. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal

Lemhi County

  • eCobalt Solutions shareholders approved its merger with Australia-based Jervois Mining via special resolution passed on in July, with 72.54 percent of the votes cast at the meeting. The Idaho Cobalt Project, which includes a central Idaho mining operation near Salmon, is a key part of the transaction. The Salmon mining operation stopped in February when cobalt prices fell under expected levels, placing a proposed Blackfoot production facility on hold until favorable prices return According to company documents, eCobalt has invested more than $135 million in the Idaho project to date. Source: KIDK, eCobalt Press Release

Madison County

  • Brigham Young University of Idaho had 2,635 graduates during 2019 spring semester commencement. The university awarded 2,124 bachelor’s degrees and 537 associate degrees. Of the graduates, 1,568 were women, 1,067 were men, 1,902 were campus-based and 733 were online students – 570 of those started their college careers as “Pathway Connect” students. Source: KIDK

Teton County

  • The Driggs’ Reed Memorial Airport is one of three regional airports that will share a portion of $495 million in Department of Transportation funding announced in June. The airport will receive $153,662 to install perimeter fencing. Other regional airports to receive funding include the Pocatello Regional Airport and the Hailey Friedman Memorial Airport. Source: KIDK

Openings

  • Izzy’s Health Solutions in Rexburg; a store that sells CBD and essential oils.
  • Grumpy Guyz Pizza Pies in Challis.
  • PuroClean of Idaho Falls.
  • La Michoacana Ice Cream Palace in Idaho Falls.

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

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