Local task force works to create tourism heritage plan for area

A task force committee recently met to help create a heritage tourism plan for Prairie County. Pictured clockwise from left around the table are: Elizabeth Smith, Glenda Ueland, Mayor Ron Kiosse, Lynn Strasheim, Dale Galland and Cindy Henderson from Cynroc.                          

For the Tribune 

Following a visit to evaluate Terry’s planning needs in June 2011, representatives from the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) recommended that Terry use $7,500 received via a Preserve America/Montana Main Street grant fund, matched with a required $5,000 in local funds or in-kind goods and services, to hire a consultant to develop a “heritage tourism action plan.”  A Request for Proposal (RFP) process was used by the town to solicit bids from consultants in November.  
After careful consideration, Cynroc, Inc., a marketing firm out of Billings who hosted a marketing and branding workshop in Terry in August, was selected to complete the town’s heritage plan.  Cindy Henderson with Cynroc suggested that a focus group guide the project to completion.  
Both the town and the Prairie County Chamber of Commerce each selected three individuals to serve on what Ms. Henderson termed a “task force.”  The task force committee, along with Ms. Henderson, Julie Burk from the Montana Department of Commerce’s Main Street Program, and Eastern Plains EDC staff, met in January to assess Terry’s potential.  
        Notes from the assessment workshop were compiled into an initial assessment document, and a further prioritization of those community resources was done at a task force committee meeting in February. Committee members met once again April 24th to review Cynroc’s preliminary heritage plan document and set goals and objectives.
The heritage plan itself is designed to link and coordinate all the worthy efforts of individuals and groups working to develop the Terry community.  NTHP representatives originally recommended focusing the heritage tourism plan on a “primary story,” specifically that of Evelyn Cameron because her story distinguishes Terry, has international appeal, and connects to so many facets of Terry’s natural and cultural history.  “During the assessment period, the stakeholders and community leaders in Terry expressed their enthusiasm for the rich and diverse cultural heritage of their area, and their conviction that tourists would be drawn to Terry if they could focus their efforts, work together, and send a coordinated and compelling message to their target audience” (from Heritage Tourism Plan Overview).  Consequently, the plan will include a style guide with a color palette and primary fonts for use on marketing materials, as well as planning recommendations, consistent with Terry’s brand message in an effort to “portray the tough, honest, ranch-tender, steel magnolias, and neat-as-a-pin historic Terry."
Please join the Town of Terry and the Prairie County Chamber of Commerce for a presentation of the finalized heritage tourism plan May 22, 2012, 7 p.m. at Terry Town Hall.          If there are any questions, please contact Dale Galland, Prairie Chamber President (406-635-5598), or Elizabeth Smith, Eastern Plains EDC Assistant (406-853-3840).  
Preserve America is a federal initiative that supports community efforts to preserve and enjoy our cultural and natural heritage. One of the goals of the program is to support the economic vitality of communities across the country. The Preserve America grant is funded by the National Park Service, U.S., Department of Interior, and is administered by the Montana State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and the Montana Department of Commerce.
Published May 2, 2012
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