Town looks to future for MTC
Council considers usability study to plan for building’s growth
December 5, 2019
The Moorcroft Town Center has not welcomed any new businesses for some time, despite the efforts of so many diligent supporters, but with new avenues for funding being made available through the SLIB and the Wyoming Business Council, there may be hope for the future.
Wyoming Business Council northeast regional director Brandi Harlow spoke to the town governing body in November regarding a grant available for application within the next fiscal year. This $25,000 grant must be matched at 25 percent ($6,250).
Andrea Wood, who was also present, had discussed the issue of usability and funding with Harlow and members of the governing body before, seeking a plan that could be presented to the SLIB when they asked for funding in the future.
Moorcroft Mayor Dick Claar agreed, “We definitely need a plan if we’re going to go down and ask for money. I think that if the MTC is going to grow, we need to take this step.”
The business council had funded in part a previous feasibility study of the building more than a decade ago, but that study covered a structural assessment, not the currently recommended usability and business potential. This examination will include identifying the “highest and best uses”, financial return to the community, what will benefit the largest number of community residents and provide the highest number of jobs as well as necessary improvements for the facility and associated recommendations.
This study, according to Harlow, is the first step to applying for funding through one of the business council’s two programs designed to help municipalities with these types of potential assets: the community enhancement program, which allows a maximum grant of $500,000 with a 20 percent match and the community readiness program, from which a town can apply for a maximum of $3 million with a five percent match.
Claar later spoke about the possibilities, “I think this is appropriate as the auditor pointed out that we are not meeting our expenditures and this would be an opportunity to see if we could increase the revenues of the MTC. If we could get a half million to a $3 million grant, we could get air conditioning and new windows, whatever would be necessary to make an improvement up there [and] we could expand from there.”
The required information for the application for this feasibility study would be gathered by an engineering firm, said Harlow, but first, “[The Business Council] would sit down as your team and look at other examples across the state of what you would really like to learn.”
The next deadline for applications is March 1 2020; the business council would examine the application in May and make their recommendation to the SLIB at their semiannual meeting in June. If Moorcroft’s application were accepted, official confirmation would be received in July, the beginning of the next fiscal year and budget.
The body has, as yet, made no official move on the suggestion which, if approved, will entail a public hearing, a resolution, and the $6,250 commitment.