Bannock Development Corp. received a pair of large contributions Friday morning from the city of Pocatello and Bannock County, and Portneuf Health Trust is providing the local economic development organization a new office.
The Bannock County Commission presented Bannock Development an oversized check for $70,000, up significantly from the county’s $25,000 investment last year. The city made its usual $75,000 contribution to the organization, which is tasked with strengthening existing businesses and attracting new growth to the county.
Furthermore, Bannock Development President and CEO MiaCate Kennedy I said the organization anticipates moving into a new office in the City Center building owned by Portneuf Health Trust by May 1. Portneuf Health Trust, which is a nonprofit organization that owns Portneuf Medical Center in a joint venture with Ardent Health Services, is in the process of renovating the office space to fit Bannock Development’s needs and has also agreed to cover the majority of rent for the first five years.
Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad said the city has consistently invested $75,000 annually in Bannock Development throughout the past decade, and he’s pleased to see Bannock County stepping its support.
“I appreciate the county like crazy,” Blad said. “It shows confidence in Bannock Development that the county has stepped up and increased that to more than double what they had don.”
Blad has pleased by the recent spirit of cooperation between governmental entities, private entities and Bannock Development. He credits Kennedy with making sure all of Bannock Development’s stakeholders are well represented.
“We’re going to see some really neat things and big things happen as we move forward,” Blad said.
Commissioner Ernie Moser has impressed by the direction in which Bannock Development appears to be heading under Kennedy’s leadership. Moser acknowledged commissioners didn’t previously feel well represented by the organization.
Moser, who is a former Inkom mayor, has been encouraged by Kennedy’s willingness to prioritize attracting growth to the county’s rural communities.
“Her outlook for the area was really positive and she’s already gone around to the smaller cities and talked to the individuals an mayors. ... It’s branching out; it’s not just in Pocatello,” Moser said.
Kennedy is optimistic that she’ll be announcing a few specific projects planned for the county in the near future.
“I worked with three new clients over the last week. We’ve gotten good hits,” Kennedy said. “It’s really not that hard because people are really searching us out now.”
Kennedy believes the outdoor recreational opportunities, availability of infrastructure and the skilled local workforce make Southeast Idaho an attractive place for employers to do business.
“There are so many assets here it’s incredible. I’m surprised it didn’t boom way faster,” Kennedy said.
Bannock Development currently leases an office at 1651 Alvin Ricken Drive from Idaho State University. While ISU has given the organization a great deal, Kennedy said the new office will be in a more centralized location close to City Hall. It will also include a small conference room, one more office than the current location and a reception area. Furthermore, Bannock Development will have access to a much larger conference room and board room shared by the building’s tenants.
“Portneuf Health Trust came to us and wanted to support us,” Kennedy said. “They were very generous.”