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UPDATE: Valley County /Meadow Valley Falls Short in 'America's Best Communities' Awards


Sherry Maupin, flanked by Andrew Mentzer (left) and Gordon Cruickshank (center) presented the Valley County / Meadow Valley pitch. - AMERICA'S BEST COMMUNITIES
  • America's Best Communities
  • Sherry Maupin, flanked by Andrew Mentzer (left) and Gordon Cruickshank (center) presented the Valley County / Meadow Valley pitch.

UPDATE: April 20, 2017

The Valley County/Meadow Valley team competing to prove their region was one of "America's Best Communities," fell a bit short April 19 in the final round of competition where prizes of $3 million, $2 million and $1 million were doled out to the best of eight contenders.

The Valley County/Meadow Valley team, representing the towns of McCall, Cascade, New Meadows and others, had survived a field of 350 competing communities from across the U.S. The awards were handed out Wednesday from the contest sponsors, Frontier Communications, DISH, CoBank and The Weather Channel.

The first, second and third place prizes went to the communities of Huntington, West Virginia, Lake Havasu City, Arizona and Statesboro, Georgia. In addition to Valley County ? Meadow Valley, the other finalists were the Chisago Lakes Area, Minnesota; Darrington/Arlington, Washington; Madison, Indiana; and Tualatin, Oregon.

ORIGINAL STORY: April 19, 2017

Think of it like a high-stakes game show. There won't be any spinning chairs or voting off the island but, on Wednesday, April 19 at about 2:15 p.m., a team from Valley County will stand before a panel of judges who will award as much as $3 million to what they deem "America's Best Community."

The West Central Mountain Economic Development Council, made up of public and private interests in Valley County and Meadows Valley, has steadily risen from a field of 350 contestants to a quarter-final round of 50 communities, then to a semi-final round of 15 communities and, now, eight finalists.

After the judges weigh in, prizes of $3 million, $2 million and $1 million will be doled out to the top three. The Valley County team will be competing against their counterparts in Chisago Lakes, Minn.; Darrington, Wash.; Huntington, W.V.; Lake Havasu, Ariz.; Madison, Ind.; Statesboro, Ga.; and Tualatin, Ore.

The contest is sponsored by Frontier Communications, Dish Network, The Weather Channel and CoBank, challenging U.S. communities to think big in reimagining their futures.

The West Central Mountains Economic Development Council has laid out an ambitious 125-page strategy that could dramatically change McCall, Cascade, New Meadows and all the tiny communities that connect to make up their region of central Idaho. Plans include an expansion of bus service, a trust to help create more workforce housing, a coalition to support a more resilient local food system, youth activities and scholarships to develop future leaders.

The team of three—Sherry Maupin and (longtime Boise Weekly contributor) Andrew Mentzer, both from the West Central Mountains group, and Valley County Commissioner Gordon Cruickshank—will need to make their presentation concise and compelling to get a shot at the $3 million. The presentations and grand prize ceremony will take place in Denver.

Interest is so great in Valley County that there will be two parties to watch a live web stream of the presentations and awards: one at Idaho First Bank in McCall and another at the Valley County Courthouse in Cascade.

Among the finalists, the Valley County team will represent the smallest community by population but the biggest in land area.


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