VIRGINIA CITY – During their regular weekly meeting on Tuesday the Madison County Commissioners met with Sam Korsmoe, executive director of the Madison County Economic Development Council, to discuss access issues with the proposed site for the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center.
Korsmoe said that his current efforts are focused on gaining support for the project by collecting as many memos of understanding and contacts for support as possible. By putting all the cards out on the table, Korsmoe explained that the MCHF selection committee will look favorably upon bids that carry a substantial show of support from the surrounding community.
Currently, some of the high cards in the game for Madison County include the James families’ donation of the historic Round Barn in Twin Bridges and accompanying thirty acres. The Madison County Economic Development Council has pledged 750 billable hours at $30 per hour from their office toward developing a capital campaign to get the project started.
Other support includes a six-figure donation from the Ruby Valley National Bank and the copyright of intellectual property for preliminary designs for the campus-style facility envisioned by the MCHF board of trustees from Miller Architects in Livingston.
Korsmoe said one of the major determining factors in the selection process is the viability of the sight, and he asked for Madison County’s support in developing and improving access to the Twin Bridges site. Having the support of the county in the form of an MOU only adds to the chips already on the table, Korsmoe said.
Commissioner Dan Happel gave his support for the project, stating that the current access to the site down a rough gravel road doesn’t make for a very appealing tourist destination.
“I don’t think we should hesitate to make some kind of a commitment to do improvements that are necessary if we get the project,” Happel said. “Once we get to that point we want to improve the road, because frankly there is no sense in having something like this unless we make it economically viable and good for the community.”
Negotiated contracts for the site are due to the MCHF selection committee by April 11 and will be simultaneously published to other finalists on April 13.
From there finalists will have a week to make any revisions to their proposals before all finalized materials are submitted no later than Friday, April 20.
Commissioners decided to craft a letter of intent for road improvements on Bayers Lane for the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame. The first phase of the project would include gravel and widening the road with measures dust control, while the second phase would include an application of asphalt paving between the proposed site and the town of Twin Bridges. The motion is contingent on Madison County being selected as the site for the MCHF and Western Heritage Center.