Christy Stensland, Executive Director, (406) 653-3800,CStensland@montanacowboyfame.com
Aaron Lyles, Director of Finance, (406) 600-8231,ALyles@montanacowboyfame.com
Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame Names Building Site Finalists
After an extensive review of proposals, the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center (MCHF & WHC) is one more step closer to construction by announcing the field of communities to continue into the third and final phase of the organization’s building site selection process. The review of nearly 2,500 pages of submitted proposal materials from 10 Montana communities was conducted by the MCHF & WHC Board of Directors, the MCHF & WHC’s preliminary architect, Scott Cromwell of Helena, Mont., and the nationally recognized non-profit consulting firm Martz and Lundy. Taking into consideration those factors essential to developing and sustaining a premier museum destination attraction, the MCHF & WHC Board of Directors is pleased to invite the following communities into the third and final selection phase: Big Sky, Big Timber, Livingston, Madison County, Miles City and Wolf Point.
In the third phase, interviews will be conducted in each finalist community to fully investigate the physical building sites that have been presented in each proposal. This phase will also include negotiations with prospective donors in the community, region and around the nation, to determine the ultimate financial feasibility and degree of support that exists for each location.
“Each community that submitted a proposal did so with the belief that they were the best future building site for the Hall of Fame and they each had something excellent to offer unique to their community,” said DuWayne Wilson, MCHF & WHC President. “Every proposal submitted was exceptional and collectively reinforced the statewide interest in the cultural facility becoming a reality. Respondents rallied around their great love and pride for the towns in which they live and the state they each call home. The amount of sincere effort put into each proposal was truly humbling.”
Since the beginning of the RFP process, the MCHF & WHC has strongly held that no community has the exclusive rights to Montana’s collective western heritage. For this reason, the decision of which communities to investigate further was based on factors such as financial feasibility, volume of resident and non-resident visitation, characteristics of the proposed physical building sites, and infrastructure available within the community to support a major development project of this nature.
The MCHF & WHC plans to announce the winning site at the end of November; however, the timeframe for the final announcement will largely depend on scheduling availability with each community and the pace of negotiations with landowners and prospective donors.
“This is truly an idea for which the time has come,” said MCHF & WHC Board Member Mike Gurnett. “Each day we lose a little bit more of our rich Montana cultural heritage to the passing of time. How many of us regret not having captured the many colorful stories of our grandparents, friends and neighbors before we lost them forever? This is capturing our history on a statewide stage and making it relevant to people’s lives. Equally important will be taking the cultural story of Montana and creating a vibrant, interactive resource for all visitors to contribute to and draw from. There is no more important stewardship decision we will make during our tenure as board members than the selection of our future building site. It will serve an important role as a learning center and resource to all Montanans interested in preserving and passing forward their heritage.”