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Rigby asks for review to help stimulate growth

Rigby applied to participate in the Idaho Community Review. Since 2000, the Idaho Rural Partnership has brought representatives from a variety of groups to small towns.

These professionals volunteer their time and even their travel expenses in order to help grow rural communities. The study is funded privately and does not cost the community. Rigby is the 31st city to participate in the community review.

“The community has to want us to come, because we are another set of eyes looking at the community and not every community wants that,” said Mike Field, executive director of Idaho Rural Partnerships.

“They take a look at the assets here in Rigby, the interests we have a community that are unique to Rigby and they let us know about commercial opportunities and economic opportunities,” said Rigby Mayor Jason Richardson.

There are three major goals for Rigby. The first is economic development.

“We have a lot of smaller industry: potato processing, sports clothing, a new solar-type business that someone is developing as well, so you can see where Rigby has a bright future,” said Bob Ziel, chairman of Rigby Review.

The next goal is to increase arts and recreation, which goes along with updating current buildings.

“We’re concerned about saving the old middle school because that is such a potential for an arts center, and that’s one thing we are striving for is to become an arts center,” said Ziel.

Rigby’s third objective includes community involvement.
“We asked for them to help us develop civic and community activism,” said Richardson.

“I’ve lived here most of my life so I have developed that love (for the community). I would like to see the younger families develop that love for the community too,” said Gaelynne Hinckley, a team leader for the project.

To make those goals reality, there are committees focused on each one. Funding is also a factor.

“The community review doesn’t bring any money in per say, but it does offer a opportunity to have different programs, incentives, and grants that can come in the future,” said Richardson.

In September, Rigby will receive a report from the review.

There is a public meeting Thursday from 7-9 p.m. at the new Rigby Middle School.

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