Around Idaho: Economic Activity in October 2020

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 Idaho
Eastern Idaho


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

Bonner County

  • Tamarack Aerospace Group is continuing its rapid expansion and is on track to triple its space in Sandpoint with additional office and hanger facilities. The company, which successfully completed a restructuring and emerged from bankruptcy filings, is aiming to leverage the new space for intensified research and development. Source: Journal of Business

Kootenai County

  • Lakeside Capital Group LLC is planning a large new residential development on more than 1,000 acres of land, located between Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene. The land, acquired by the developer last year, was recently rezoned from agricultural land to transitional use. The planned new residential community, called Coeur Terre, could potentially include more than 2,000 units in a mixture of single and multi-family developments. Source: Journal of Business
  • Hagadone Hospitality is working on a new mixed-use development in southeastern Coeur d’Alene, which will feature three 200-foot tall towers to include a mixture of hotel rooms, apartments and condominiums. The development is still in the planning stage, has not been assigned an address and does not have a concrete timeline for completion yet. Source: Journal of Business
  • COVID masking mandates in northern Idaho are in flux, with the Panhandle Health District rescinding its mask order and the city of Coeur d’Alene implementing a mask order of its own, which went into effect on Oct. 27. Coeur d’Alene Public Schools are currently facing a significant COVID-19 outbreak, with large numbers of students quarantined. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

OpeningsCoeur d’Alene

  • Vicino Pizza
  • 2 Ravens Tattoo Studio
  • Gas and Grain
  • Magpie Home Goods
  • Hank’s Hatchets

OpeningsPost Falls

  • Ricardo’s Baja Tacos, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 457-8789 ext. 4451

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

Nez Perce Tribe

  • A cyberattack forced the Nez Perce Tribe to close the Clearwater River Casino and Lodge near Lewiston and It’se Ye-Ye Casino at Kamiah for more than a week starting in early October. The Lewiston casino hotel is the region’s largest tourism facility. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Clearwater County

  • The increased interest in outdoor recreation caused by the pandemic sent a record number of visitors to Dworshak Reservoir this summer. The reservoir recently learned it will receive a grant to expand the destination dock at Drift Creek so it can accommodate more boats. Source: Clearwater Tribune
  • Jordyn Howell, Orofino Chamber of Commerce executive director, said she had seen a big drop in the number of requests for relocation packets recently. She said a major factor has been a shortage of available housing. Source: Clearwater Tribune

Idaho and Lewis Counties

  • Idaho and Lewis counties learned in September they would receive more than $1.6 million dollars in federal coronavirus relief funds through the Idaho Department of Commerce for improved Internet access. In Idaho County, $320,000 will go to Elk City and $850,000 will go to the communities of Keuterville, Greencreek, Clearcreek, Winona, Woodland, Harrisburg, Mt. Idaho, Slate Creek, Riggins and White Bird. The main focus will be building out broadband in the White Bird and Riggins areas, but the other areas also will add bandwidth. In Lewis County, $470,000 will improve internet access and speeds in the Winchester, Craigmont, Nezperce and Reubens areas. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • Harty and Marjorie Schmaehl, owners of the Hearthstone Lodge, opened a two-story, 16-room lodge overlooking the Clearwater River at Kamiah in October. Hicks Construction Co., based near Kooskia, was the primary contractor for the project that began two years ago. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • Stites is creating a community park at the corner of Main and Bridge streets. It will provide a place for community residents and tourists to picnic, relax and learn about the city’s history. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • During the past three years, Elk City has seen a surge in tourism. With the growth in outdoor recreation during the pandemic, Elk City and its surrounding areas hosted record numbers of tourists this summer. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • The Mountain View School District has struggled to fill 31 positions after staff resigned or retired this summer and fall because of the coronavirus pandemic or a change in employee benefits. The majority of the resignations have temporarily replaced with substitutes and student teachers who are finishing their academic credits to gain a teaching certification or license. After the district’s $3.9 million levy measure failed in June, the district cut benefits and froze salary levels. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Nez Perce and Asotin Counties

  • The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation donated $1 million in October to Lewis-Clark State College’s 86,000-square-foot Schweitzer Career and Technical Education Center under construction in the Lewiston Orchards. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Lewis-Clark State College has received a $50,000 donation from the Brien and Shelly DeAtley Foundation. Half will be used to purchase equipment for the auto mechanics program at the Schweitzer Career and Technical Education Center, which will open in January. The other half will help restore some of the college’s TRIO program, which was discontinued in September after a long-standing federal grant ended. The DeAtley donation and a $107,000 gift from an anonymous donor will allow the program to continue to offer support services to first-generation college and low-income students including tutoring in mathematics. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Clarkston’s ability to serve tourists increased with the October opening of an 84-room Best Western Plus hotel in Clarkston. The new hotel’s owner, Clarkston Lodging Group, is considering adding a chain restaurant on an empty lot on the east side of the hotel on Bridge Street. The business also finished a 36-unit apartment complex on the south side of the hotel. Another enhancement to the city’s tourism offerings was the remodel of the Quality Inn in Clarkston when it was converted to a Holiday Inn this summer. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Lewis-Clark State College will restore its associate degree in dental hygiene starting in January. It had discontinued the program in 2018. Dental hygienists are in strong demand and have a median hourly wage of $37.74 in the Lewiston metro area, according to the Idaho Department of Labor. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Lewis-Clark State College received a $55,553 grant Oct. 1 from the U.S. Department of Education to help low-income students with subsidized child care at KinderCollege on campus. The grant also helps provide work opportunities and experience for students in the college’s early child development program. KinderCollege provides care for children from 6 weeks to 6 years old. Source: Lewis-State College news release
  •  The first few of 301 trucks carrying wind turbine blades or tower segments to Canada from the Port of Lewiston began heading north in mid-October. The components began arriving at Lewiston in September. They traveled from overseas to the Port of Longview in Washington and then up the Columbia to Lewiston since September after traveling by barge from an ocean port in Washington. Each truck will travel north on U.S. Highway 95 to Coeur d’Alene, where they will turn east on Interstate 90 into Montana and then north to Alberta. They will only travel at night to reduce impact on traffic. The trucks hauling the turbine blades are 270 feet long, and the vehicles hauling the tower components will be anywhere from 118 feet to 181 feet long. A standard semitruck and trailer is 75 feet long. Unless weather causes delay, the last shipment is expected to leave Lewiston by the end of December. The deal is expected to generate about $100,000 in revenue for the port. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Army Corps of Engineers, Bonneville Power Administration and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation formally adopted a salmon and dams management strategy that attempts to balance the needs of Endangered Species Act-protected salmon and steelhead with carbon-free hydropower production and efficient barge transportation on the Columbia and lower Snake rivers. The strategy does not include breaching of the four lower Snake River dams as urged by fish advocates including the Nez Perce Tribe and environmental groups. Instead, the dams will spill high volumes of water about 16 hours a day in the spring and early summer to help juvenile fish heading downstream, while prioritizing hydropower production during hours of high prices and demand. Source: Idaho Statesman; Lewiston Tribune
  • Washington state’s minimum wage is increasing 19 cents to $13.69 per hour starting Jan. 1, 2021. The state has the highest minimum wage among all 50 states. Under the law, the state’s minimum wage automatically increases every year base on the change in consumer prices. Idaho’s minimum wage is $7.25, the same as the federal minimum wage. The higher minimum wage on the other side of the border puts upward pressure on wages in Lewiston and Moscow. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Historically low mortgage rates, pent-up demand for housing and an increase in buyers coming from out of state are buoying the housing market in in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley. In the past year, average home sale prices rose from $225,688 to $264,005. The inventory of available homes is low, making it harder to buy a home in a competitive market. Source: Lewiston Tribune, 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

  • The Boise City Council voted to extend the timeline on its expanded patio dining and parklet dining through 2021. The program enacted to provide restaurants with more space for outside seating to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The Ada County Commissioners approved the construction of a new jail pod for $44.5 million. The construction will include renovations to the existing jail plus new construction adding 294 beds. About $38 million will come through a type of lease-purchase financing in which the county will make annual payments for 30 years. The agreement provides an opt-out clause after the first year which would result in ownership loss of the building and land. The remainder of the funding—an estimated $6.5 million — will come from county coffers earmarked for this critical need. If the jail were built using a long-term bonding mechanism, two-thirds of the voters would have to approve the debt. Source: KTVB News and the Idaho Statesman
  • The city of Boise approved construction of a trailhead for the Hillside to Harrison Reserve. It will be built on an eight-acre site acquired last year for $435,000 from Healthwise Inc. Construction will continue through the winter and into the spring. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Boise continues to rank high in quality of life surveys including the most recent releases from Airbnb and WalletHub. Airbnb found that Boise was one of the smaller- to mid-sized cities most frequently booked for two weeks or more. These visitors were working remotely from the Airbnb, then exploring the outdoor amenities such as the Boise River and Greenbelt, its myriad parks and trail systems. Boise was among 10 cities in which people are booking longer stays. An estimated 20 percent of the survey participants indicated they either relocated permanently or temporarily during the COVID-19 pandemic. Boise also ranked at the top for staycations where residents elect to get away from their home and its accompanying demands to enjoy a different living environment to relax and/or recreate. Along the same lines, WalletHub ranked Boise #2 for staycations or vacationing close to home for its residents. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Plantation Golf Course changed its name to River Club. It has been in operation since 1917, and the private golf club will continue to offer the same golf and social experience to its members. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The Boise Philharmonic released the first of its virtual concert series– 27 digital performances. Instead of the typical 68-member orchestra performing together, the shows will highlight four-five musicians following distancing guidelines and accessible online by members. The Philharmonic will not offer in-person concerts this season. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • St. Alphonsus will continue its 37-year tradition of hosting the Festival of Trees moving to a virtual festival providing a longer opportunity for individuals to bid on trees and wreaths. Proceeds are directed toward programs and people impacted by COVID-19 such as health care workers, innovations in telehealth and educational opportunities and outreach. Normally the festival attracts 20,000 people over five days. The trees will be photographed professionally and posted on the website for 12 days of bidding starting Nov. 19. Santa will still be available for kids but in a virtual setting. Source: Idaho Press
  • Saltzer Health is joining Intermountain Healthcare, a much larger health care organization with 215 clinics and 24 hospitals across three states employing 2,500 physicians and advanced practice providers. Saltzer staffs 80 physicians and advanced practice providers at eight locations with three more locations under construction. Intermountain Healthcare announced 250 back office positions will be eliminated in the Salt Lake City area but made no staff reductions in Idaho. Source: Idaho Press and
  • Zoom+Care is opening two clinics in Ada County – one in Meridian and one in Boise – and each location will employ from four-six staff. The concept is on-demand primary health care offering flat rate for services. A rate schedule is posted on its website. The clinics do not accept government or military-funded medical insurance, the Oregon Health Plan or cash or checks. A debit or credit card is required up front when booking an appointment. The clinics accept private medical insurance. The concept was not deemed profitable in 2012 when the clinics opened in the Treasure Valley market, pulling out two years later. Since that time, Zoom has expanded its portfolio of clinics by 4 ½ times with more than 50 clinics nationwide. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Anthony’s Restaurant, a northwest regional chain of about 24 restaurants, is still a go but the opening is pushed back to December 2020 from its earlier May estimate. The uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic stopped construction. The location is in the J.R. Simplot corporate headquarters building next to Jack’s Urban Meeting Place (JUMP) in downtown Boise. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Boise Contemporary Theater announced its 2020-2021 season will start in spring 2021. The nonprofit expected to open its doors this fall but the number of COVID-19 cases were trending upward. The latest announcement coincides with other arts and entertainment organizations that are prioritizing safety rather than “the show must go on.” There may be some virtual performances in the works, accessible by members. Source: Idaho Press
  • Idaho Steelheads and Idaho Central Credit Union are collaborating in a sponsorship that changes the name of the downtown Boise arena from CenturyLink to Idaho Central with renovations to be announced. CenturyLink has also reduced office space in downtown Boise. Source: KTVB News
  • Idaho Department of Transportation opened a three-mile section of Chinden Road between Highway 16 and Linder Road where it widened from two lanes to four lanes with a detached 10’ pedestrian/bicycle lane. This will enhance the commuting experience between Boise and Emmett. Continued road improvement on the Chinden West corridor will occur as weather allows. Source: Messenger-Index
  • The Boise City Library and its neighborhood branches have reopened with limited hours and reduced number of patrons allowed inside, who are required to wear face masks. Curbside pickup is still offered. Source: Idaho Press
  • Meridian’s fire chief and police chief broke ground on a new training center. Next summer, first responders in Meridian will have a training venue with residential and commercial layouts offering real- life simulations. The Scenario Training Center has been in the works for a decade costing an estimated $3.5 million. The goal is to improve outcomes when dealing with dangerous situations by training in a safe environment. Source: Idaho News 6

Canyon County

  • Amazon’s four-story, 165,000 square-foot building is still in construction stage but on schedule for opening during the holiday season. It is one of the company’s 176 fulfillment centers around the globe. The Nampa City Council funded $14 million in road improvements based on speculation of 7,000 trips generated daily during peak season. Job creation was initially estimated at 1,000 but new estimates have surfaced doubling the hiring to 2,000 with entry level pay at $15 hourly. The company’s staffing will include robots that work within the center but will require greater staffing levels to keep up the pace set by robots. Only 26 of its fulfillment centers use robotics and those that do carry 40 percent more inventory. The company offers health care, up to 20 weeks of paid maternal and paternal leave, a 50 percent 401(k) retirement match and will prepay 95 percent of tuition for courses in high-demand fields such as game design, visual communications, nursing, radiology and IT programming. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Northwest Nazarene University reported a 2 percent uptick of enrollment compared with the fall of 2019. NNU is offering a campus experience during the COVID-19 pandemic with face-to-face learning. The number of first-year students and transfer students are down from a year ago — 325 versus 347. Leadership has implemented a test process on campus for COVID-19, with more than 950 tests conducted during a week in September. At that time, there were six confirmed cases and nine students under a stay-at-home order. There are 1,971 students attending this fall compared with 1,931 a year ago. Source: Idaho Education News

Owyhee County

  • All three school districts in Owyhee County have received a grant from the US Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program that provides local products to students in grades 1-6. Homedale School District will receive $42,000, Marsing School District will receive $23,100 and Bruneau-Grand View is provided up to $4,725. On average, the award is valued at $75 per student. It provides an experience for students to try unusual fruits and vegetables to widen their healthy food choices. In Homedale, the students receive the veggies and fruits in the afternoon as a snack — this has been an ongoing program in Homedale for eight years. Source: Owyhee Avalanche
  • Homedale’s Owyhee County Community Center is nearing completion of its exterior update with a new parking lot and sidewalks. The price tag comes in around $128,000. The funding source is the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) trust fund. The federal government pays PILT monies to counties that lose out on property tax collections due to federal land status. Source: Owyhee Avalanche

Valley County

  • More tourists visited McCall this summer than the summer before, despite the pandemic. The city collects two local option taxes — a 1 percent tax on retail sales and an additional 3 percent tax on lodging operations. Lodging receipts this summer rose 4.2 percent above summer 2019, while retail receipts rose 1.7 percent. Source: BoiseDev
  • The McCall Golf Course reported record revenue for 2020 despite earlier concerns about how the pandemic would affect golf rounds, tournaments and events. Guests of the 27-hole course played a total of 32,521 rounds of golf this year, 6,000 more rounds than in 2019. Source: McCall Star-News
  • Valley County Commissioners approved a 64,000-square-foot logistics facility Midas Gold hopes to construct on 25 acres on Warm Lake Road, eight miles east of Cascade. The company attached stipulations intended to keep the rural area from becoming an industrial hub. Midas Gold is a Canadian company seeking U.S. approval for three open-pit gold mines in the Stibnite area 40 miles east of McCall and on the western edge of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. The company projects it will create 500 jobs for up to 25 years, while it extracts 4 million ounces of gold along with silver and antimony. The Stibnite Gold Project would be the only source of antimony — an essential mineral for the defense and energy sectors — mined in the U.S. The plans for the staging area include parking space for about 300 vehicles for employees, contractors and vendors. Midas Gold will be required to draft an agreement for affordable housing for workers at the logistics facility before to building permits will be issued. Source: McCall Star-News
  • A McCall businessman proposes to build a four-story, mixed-use building in downtown McCall at the intersection of Second and Park streets. It would house a hostel, apartments, retail space, outdoor balconies and a rooftop deck. It may be powered by solar panels, small wind turbines, including turbines in gutter downspouts to generate electricity from snowmelt. Source: McCall Star-News

Washington County

  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently awarded $1.2 million to Weiser Memorial Hospital to strengthen telehealth services in its emergency department. Funding will support the implementation of 24-hour consultation services for high-risk behavioral health patients. Source: Weiser Signal American
  • Weiser has two new food trucks serving take-out food. Smokin Tawny’s, specializing in barbecue, opened on Highway 95 across from Family Dollar. Tacos California is parked next to Ole’s Tavern on Highway 95 south. Source: Weiser Signal American


  • A ribbon cutting was held at Maggie’s On Main in historical downtown Emmett. The arts and craft store will sponsor classes and sells supplies. Source: Messenger-Index
  • Taco Cow opened in Meridian.
  • Boise native Cal Elliot opened Little Pearl Oyster Bar in downtown Boise in the former Regal Beaver space, starting with limited hours. The chef/restaurateur returned to Boise after spending 28 years working in New York City’s dining industry. He also owns the four-story former Bouquet bar building on Main Street and plans to eventually reopen it as a hotel and two restaurants. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Tony G’s opened in Meridian with pickup and delivery only. It operates out of a commercial kitchen operated by Crave Delivery, a Meridian start-up that allows restaurateurs access to its facility for food preparation for a variety of food and drinks that consumers can order for delivery using the company’s app. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The Nightrider by Western Collective is a pop-up bar that opened temporarily in the former Café Ole in Boise’s BoDo district. The brewery expanded to this second location from its existing Garden City taproom. Ultimately, it will occupy the former Old Spaghetti Factory space also in downtown Boise. The pop-up location strategy is to establish a downtown presence during the winter, pouring its brews with some wine offerings during the renovation of its permanent location. Construction should be completed May 2021. The taproom has space for 32, while the Nightrider location will accommodate 68 patrons. Both have new air purification systems to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Hyde Park Wine Shop opened in the former Camel’s Crossing Restaurant in Boise’s north end under the same owners/operators but offering a scaled-back menu with lower price points. Currently, it is staffed solely by the owners/operators. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Alpine Pizza is opening in the former PizzalChik Restaurant. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Sweeto Burrito opened in Meridian. Other Sweeto Burritos are in Idaho Falls and Twin Falls. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Tacos Mi Ranchito will open in November in Fruitland. Source: Independent-Enterprise
  • Hobby Lobby will be hiring 35-50 workers at its first Boise store in December offering a minimum wage of $17 hourly for full-time workers and $11 hourly for its part-timers. It plans to open in mid-January at the former Shopko space in west Boise. The privately owned company has a store in Nampa and in Meridian. Positions will be posted and applications submitted through its website at Source: Idaho Statesman


  • Pizza Hut in Emmett closed its doors permanently. A national franchiser declared bankruptcy resulting in the shuttering of up to 300 restaurants scattered across the country, including this Emmett restaurant. Source: Messenger Index
  • Grinker’s Grand Palace in Eagle closed after eight years of selling sandwiches and offering “old school” video games. It was billed as the largest arcade in Idaho and had expanded three times. The closure was a result of reduced revenue due to COVID-19. The 308 vintage games were sold to a Utah collector. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Edwards Cinemas, with three locations in Boise and one in Nampa, have temporarily closed due to COVID-19 affecting the release of new movies to the public. Source: Idaho Statesman and Associated Press, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 735-2500 ext. 3639

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

Blaine County

  • The city of Hailey has approved plans for a 12-unit residential development built from refurbished metal shipping containers. The three-building, two-story project will go up on a vacant lot north of the forthcoming Silver River Residences development on North River Street. The development will offer about 8,960 square feet of living space and 1,500 square feet of open space. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Construction of affordable housing on the former Blaine Manor property in Hailey began earlier this month. The 72,200-square-foot development project is expected to include a senior apartment building and a family apartment building, with expected monthly rent ranging between $370 and $1,110. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Camas County

  • The Camas County Planning and Zoning Commission has approved plans to develop a private airport with an 8,500-foot runway near Fairfield. According to the submitted master plan, Soldier Field Airport would be designed and built to accommodate small aircraft as well as “very large general aviation aircraft” including the Boeing 737-800. The plan states that in the third year of operation, the airport could see about 1,500 landings or takeoffs on an airstrip 8,500 feet long and 150 feet wide. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Gooding County

  • Bliss has been awarded federal emergency funds to increase broadband access to its 300-plus residents. The cost of building the infrastructure is estimated at $840,000. This project will provide residents with internet access at a baseline speed of 25 Mbps.

Twin Falls County

  • Construction of the College of Southern Idaho’s Vet Tech program facility in downtown Twin Falls is currently underway. The facility is scheduled for completion by the time fall 2021 classes begin. – Times-News
  • Construction has begun on downtown Twin Falls six-story building with apartments, offices and retail space. –Source: Times-News


  •   North Canyon Medical Center in Jerome.


  • Scooters Chillin’ and Grillin’ in Twin Falls., regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 735-2500 ext. 3639

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


  • Idaho State University’s total student enrollment for the fall 2020 semester is 11,786, a 7.5 percent decline in undergraduate students and a 6.9 percent increase in graduate students. While Idaho State’s overall fall enrollment was down 639 students (5.1 percent), the largest decrease was 430 dual-enrolled high school students. Early college students, or students taking university courses while still in high school, are officially included in the university’s enrollment report. ISU estimates the decline in high school dual enrollment students is, in part, due to the irregular timing of fall high school operations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Excluding dual-enrolled high school students, the overall decline was 2.1 percent. Source: KIDK
  • Idaho State University cut the ribbon on Oct. 2 to officially open the newly renovated William M. and Karin A. Eames Advanced Technical Education and Innovations Complex. The 220,000-square-foot complex cost $22 million to renovate. The complex is the new home for the ISU College of Technology programs in automotive technology, auto-collision repair and refinishing, diesel technology, welding, computerized machining technology and computer-aided design. The move to the renovated complex increases the number of welding booths from 40 to 61, doubles the number of vehicle lifts and quadruples the working space available for the diesel technology program. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Building a spacious new black bear exhibit is the top priority in a plan the Pocatello City Council approved to guide the evolution of Zoo Idaho throughout the next two decades. The plan calls for investing about $3.5 million in zoo improvements throughout the next 20 years. In the near term, the zoo has also received city council approval to accept a large contribution from Connections Credit Union that will cover a significant portion of building a new gift shop. Source: Idaho State Journal

Bannock County

  • A Rexburg builder has broken ground on a roughly $30 million housing project to include 404 multifamily apartment and townhouse units on land within the city’s Northgate District. Kartchner Commercial Builders is constructing five townhouses, each with five units, in addition to a large apartment complex to be called the Northgate Apartments. Kartchner’s project represents the first significant development to move forward in the Northgate area, which is located east of Interstate 15. Source: Idaho State Journal


  • The Ef.Fin Barbershop in Pocatello.
  • Calming Rivers, an adult daycare center in Pocatello.
  • My World Discovery Museum in Chubbuck.
  • Tokyo Belly Sushi Pocatello.


  • Golden Coral in Pocatello.
  • The U.S. Bank in Historic Downtown Pocatello., regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 236-6710 ext. 4331

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


  • ​Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho, better known to locals as REDI, held a “first-of-its-kind economic summit” for the eastern Idaho business community on Oct. 8, which was a virtual event. The online conference sported a roster of speakers and panelists, including Gov. Brad Little, U.S. Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo, Matthew Thomsen of the Idaho Workforce Development Council and Idaho Department of Commerce Director Tom Kealey. The keynote speaker was Jaime Casap, Google’s  former “education evangelist,” who spoke for an hour on “Digitization and the Future of Work.” Source: Idaho Business Review
  • College of Eastern Idaho will use a $1.2 million federal grant to build a regional facility for career and technical education. The proposed 80,000-square-foot college facility would be the host for Future Tech, a CEI program that would expand the college’s ability to provide hands-on CTE lessons. The grant comes from the Economic Development Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The federal funding is matched with $1.2 million that was awarded to the college by the state in March for the design and planning of the building. Future Tech will be located directly north of the current college campus on land CEI owns. An architect would be selected to design the building by January and complete the blueprints by the end of 2021. CEI has been the only college in the state without a dedicated career tech location. Construction for the Future Tech building will cost roughly $35 million. Source: Post Register
  • Yellowstone National Park hosted 837,499 recreation visits in September 2020. This is a 21 percent increase from September 2019, making it the busiest September on record. So far in 2020, the park has hosted 3,383,872 recreation visits, down 11 percent from the same period last year. The park was closed in March because of the pandemic and re-opened in stages starting May 18. It was fully re-opened June 1. Source: Yellowstone National Park Press Release and the Washington Post

Idaho National Lab News

  • Three Idaho National Laboratory technologies have won R&D 100 Awards in 2020. Including this year’s winners, INL has won 25 R&D 100 Awards since 2005. The winners this year were:
    1. Carbon Capture & Utilization through Reduction Electrolysis (CURE) – The Carbon CURE process provides a solution using recyclable solvents as a carbon capture medium that can be fed directly to an electrochemical cell. The cell converts carbon dioxide to syngas, the building block for a raft of high value products. The process will help to achieve economical carbon capture at an industrial scale.
    2. Colorimetric Detection of Actinides (CoDeAc) – CoDeAc is a handheld radiation detector that can help responders quickly detect actinides at any disaster or accident scene. CoDeAc’s color change in the presence of very low concentrations of uranium and plutonium gives a go/no-go result in seconds, allowing these professionals to make decisions based on actual data instead of assumptions on-site.
    3. Crop Artificial Intelligence Quotient (Crop AIQ) – Crop AIQ is an agricultural performance assessment that allows land managers to make more informed decisions about how they grow plants for food, feed, fiber and fuel. The tool gives farmers the ability to generate an accurate yield map without having to rely on harvester data, the only other way to produce such a map. Source: Post Register
  • Critical Decision 1, which evaluates conceptual design, schedule and cost range and potential alternatives of the Versatile Test Reactor project, was just approved by the U.S. Department of Energy. That moves INL closer to, very likely, being selected as the nation’s first site for such an operation. An Environmental Impact Statement will be prepared by the Department of Energy, and a few more public comment opportunities will be made available in the process. INL expects to know if its site is selected by the Department of Energy around mid-2021. It is estimated to cost $3 – $6 billion. If approved as the build site for the Versatile Test Reactor, INL will move into Critical Decisions 2 and 3, in which INL will elaborate on the conceptual design and other project factors. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The Department of Energy announced it was granting $1.355 billion in cost-sharing funds aiming to keep energy costs low for the Carbon Free Power Project. Companies and energy leaders involved say it is a crucial step forward in the effort to build 12 small modular reactors that would provide new research opportunities as well as commercial power to parts of Utah and Idaho. Portland-based NuScale Power is designing the small modular reactors, which will produce 720 megawatts and which the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems plans to build at Idaho National Laboratory’s desert site west of Idaho Falls. The plant is expected to be operational in 2029. Source: Post Register
  • About three dozen cities and power systems, mostly in Utah but also in neighboring states, are part of Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems’ plan to build 12 small reactors, producing 720 megawatts of power, at the U.S. Department of Energy site west of Idaho Falls. The project is expected to be operational by 2029. Oct. 31 was the deadline for participants to approve the project’s new budget and commit to the next phase, and opponents have been pushing cities to abandon the project, citing uncertainty about whether it would work out and potential risk to taxpayers. The recent announcement of $1.4 billion in DOE funding for the project will reduce some uncertainty. So far, Kaysville, Logan and Lehi in Utah opted to drop out and Idaho Falls city opted to reduce the city’s commitment by half. The next chance for the participants to opt out will be in November 2021. Source: Post Register

Bonneville County

  • Idaho Falls has decided to stick with a proposed nuclear energy project for now, although it has reduced the city’s power purchasing commitment by half. The city council voted unanimously to reauthorize the city’s participation in the Carbon Free Power Project, capping the city’s commitment during the project’s next phase at 5,000 kilowatts. The city’s financial commitment is capped at $930,070, when cost sharing from the U.S. Department of Energy and from NuScale Power, the Portland-based company designing the small modular reactors, is considered. Several city council members characterized the resolution, which keeps the city in the project but reduces its commitment from the previous 10,000 kilowatts, as a compromise that keeps the city involved in a promising clean energy project that could have a significant positive economic impact on the Idaho Falls area while reducing the risk to Idaho Falls Power customers if it does not pan out. Source: Post Register
  • Lease negotiations for the Hillcrest Plaza near Dutch Bros in Ammon have been finalized. The new tenants include The Joint Chiropractic, Luxury Nails and Spa and Super Chix – a chicken and custard chain based in Texas. Jersey Mike’s Subs and Duck Donuts will also be opening there soon. Opening dates will be determined once construction is complete. Developers say an identical strip center will be built on the vacant pad east of Dutch Bros this spring. Source: East Idaho News

Madison County

  • Brigham Young University-Idaho reports fall 2020 semester enrollment totals show growth among all student populations. The school reports a total enrollment of 26,963 campus-based students, which is a 7.1 percent increase over last fall’s campus enrollment of 25,176. This includes students who are enrolled in face-to-face, blended, flexible, remote, online and internship courses. The university estimates approximately 18,000 students are living in Rexburg during this semester. Enrollment for online courses is also seeing an increase. Currently 17,523 students are taking online courses which is an increase of 25.4 percent over last fall’s comparable online student enrollment of 13,974. Source: KPVI
  • Madison Memorial Hospital is preparing to add a new unit to its facility that will help meet the growing need for mental health care in the community. The unit will have 12 beds, and act as a crisis-stabilizing facility for adults 18 and over. Construction on the new behavioral health unit is expected to begin in the next few months. Source: East Idaho News
  • The Eastern Idaho Public Health board unanimously approved changes to its COVID-19 regional response plan, moving Madison County from a “moderate” to “high” risk level for the illness after a surge in local confirmed cases. The changes include reducing the threshold for a high-risk designation from 50 confirmed COVID-19 cases per 10,000 people to 30. Madison’s current active case rate is 61.2 per 10,000. The New York Times placed Madison’s county seat, Rexburg, atop a national list of metro areas hit hardest by the illness. Source: Idaho Education News


  • Xtreme Powersports in Idaho Falls.
  • Cutthroat Towing and Recovery in Rigby.
  • Prepp’d, a meal prep delivery service in Idaho Falls and in Ammon.
  • Longhorn Steakhouse in Idaho Falls.
  • The Idaho Women’s Business Center in Idaho Falls.
  • The Handmade Idaho Shop in Idaho Falls.
  • Hummel Architects, a Boise-based architecture company, opened a new branch in Idaho Falls.


  • Kiwi Loco at in Idaho Falls., regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 236-6710 ext. 4331