Northcentral Montana’s regional economy, frontier history, rural environments, and small towns are part of our shared identity. In 2012 and 2013, residents told us that they prefer sustainable development to either a “boom & bust” scenario or continued loss of rural population. Their input guided our planning process, which included governments, organizations, and residents of 11 counties and three reservations. Working together, Vibrant Futures Consortium partners identified common goals and developed best strategies that reflect the needs and desires of communities.
We found that every town has its own economic strategies, and every community contributes to the regional economy. Diverse communities rely on one another for services and consumers. They strive to maintain essential services such as grocery stores and gas stations, to revitalize downtown areas, to attract more businesses, and to improve transportation, infrastructure and housing.