Representatives from Idaho’s Valley County were in Denver, Colo., on Wednesday as one of eight rural finalists for the America’s Best Communities Grand Prize sponsored by Frontier Communications, DISH Network, CoBank and The Weather Channel.
Valley County, north of Boise, includes the cities of McCall, Donnelly, Cascade and others.
The finalists, which rose to the top eight out of a field of 350 communities across the U.S., competed for first-, second- and third-place prizes worth $3 million, $2 million and $1 million, respectively.
Huntington, West Virginia, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and Statesboro, Georgia placed first, second and third. The sponsors announced the winners at the Wednesday ceremony.
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During the day, before the awards ceremony, Valley County officials presented the county’s “West Central Mountains Economic Development Strategy,” a revitalization plan created for the competition. The plan focuses on jobs, housing, transportation and infrastructure, culture and recreation, health and well-being, and regional communications.
Some of the suggested strategies included expanding workforce development programs, creating business incubator spaces, enhancing outdoor recreation assets. The plan also called for the creation of the West Central Mountains Community Foundation to provide the long-term framework for making the improvements.
The America’s Best Communities competition launched in September 2014 to inspire revitalization and growth in small towns and rural communities across the country. Winners were chosen by an independent panel of judges who reviewed and scored communities’ proposals based on an objective set of criteria.
The other finalists included Chisago Lakes Area, Minnesota; Darrington/Arlington, Washington; Madison, Indiana; and Tualatin, Oregon.
For more information on the competition, visit the America’s Best Communities Facebook page.