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LEWIS AND CLARK BICENTENNIAL COMMISSION
Mitchell Building, Helena, Montana
July 18, 2000
Commission members in attendance were Matthew Cohn, Jack Lepley, Edythe McCleary, Doug Monger, Arnie Olsen, Homer Staves and Betty Stone. Staff included executive director Clint Blackwood and administrative assistant Rita Cortright. Members unable to attend were Jeanne Eder, Darrell Kipp, Marilyn Ryan, Hal Stearns and Curley Youpee. Guests included Mike Oliver and Ron Clark.
Lunch was served and Ms. Stone called the meeting to order at 12:20 p.m. First on the agenda was Jack Light, Pompey Pillar Historical Association. In his absence, Ms. Stone introduced Mike Oliver, Congressional Field Liaison, U. S. House of Representatives, Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Caucus. Mr. Oliver provided some updates noting there are several Montana projects on the Congressional Docket at this time in the form of appropriations language. These bills must clear the Senate and then go on to Conference. Mr. Oliver said there are 22 senators on the Senate Caucus and 43 members on the House Caucus and he will be working for both the House and Senate. He explained that the Lewis and Clark Caucuses were formed as a result of the disappointment on the part of several members of Congress with the National Bicentennial Celebration. He said a lot of money was spent on the Bicentennial and there was very little left in the way of legacy. Therefore, the Caucuses want to see some lasting legacies left as a result of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial. He reviewed a list of concerns that ranged from not being properly prepared and being too prepared (i.e. over building). Mr. Oliver said each state's delegation is approaching this differently and explained that there is not a national priority list of projects. He said things look good for this coming budget cycle, but cautioned that with the upcoming election, the face of Congress may change.
Mr. Oliver reviewed a list of points that the Caucuses are interested in sharing directly with Lewis &and Clark Commissions:
1. Congress Can't Fund Everything. Congress was expecting about $40 million in budget requests for L&C projects and $320 million in requests were received. He said this year the total requested might approach $500 million. The Ohio River states are becoming interested and want to come on board as members, which will create more competition for funding. Mr. Oliver encouraged the state Commission and communities to look for alternative sources of funding and partnerships. He explained that Congress desires a concise format when submitting projects. However, much more detail is required for the appropriations process, such as architectural drawings, business plans and feasibility studies. He said things have to be well planned and detailed at this stage. Congress is very interested in the sustainability of projects, i.e. how they will be funded in the future, as they are not interested in funding the ongoing operational costs of bricks and mortar projects.
2. Every Dollar Must Flow Through a Federal Conduit. Mr. Oliver said no dollars come directly to any entity other than a federal agency. He said it is important to form partnerships early on and identify ways to get money through the federal system. He cited an example of a partnership with HUD, noting that land management agencies are not the only avenue. Mr. Oliver said the congressional staff is comprised of very young people, and the turnover rate is very high. He said once the appropriations process has begun, there is no time to research how to get money through the system. He suggested working with the local state delegation staffers and people on the contact list in D.C. prior to this time to examine and identify alternatives.
3. Avoid Politically Controversial Projects. Mr. Oliver cautioned that if projects were politically controversial, nobody would carry them.
4. Congress Looks for Strong Community Support. He said congressional delegations respond to constituents and if they support the project this is very beneficial. Projects that already have community funds committed stand a better chance of receiving congressional funding.
5. Timely Submittal of Projects to the National Council. Mr. Oliver said Montana is ahead of everyone else as far as having projects ready for the next submittal to the Council. He noted a couple of changes. Congress has asked the National Council to present them with a prioritized national list, as they do not have the capability to properly prioritize local projects. The two Caucuses would like to have something that they could jointly support. Congress, and in particular Senator Gordon from Washington, wants the Caucuses to look at a priority list that provides continuity and fairness along the Trail. There are three appropriators on the House side and this means the Senate holds most of the power. Montana Senator Conrad Burns sits on the Appropriations Committee. Mr. Oliver said it was very important that the states' prioritized lists reach the Council in a timely manner. The state delegations are looking to state commissions to serve as clearinghouses and many of them will not recommend funding any project that has not first been reviewed by the state commissions.
6. Legacy was addressed in his earlier comments.
7. Congressional Field Trips. Mr. Oliver said it is very important in the summer season to get staffers from D.C. and local state offices out on the ground to view projects first hand. This will prepare them to answer questions when it comes time for the appropriation process.
8. Follow-up. Mr. Oliver said the most successful projects those that work with their members of Congress. He encouraged anyone traveling to Washington, D.C. to take time to visit their members of Congress and staff.
Mr. Oliver offered to answer questions. Mr. Monger asked whether the member of Congress or their staff is behind many of these projects. Mr. Oliver said Congressman Hill is very active in this process; however, some other members are not as interested in Lewis and Clark. Mr. Blackwood said it has been his experience that the Montana delegation are interested in seeing the prioritized list and are interested in knowing what the Commission feels is important. He cautioned that the Commission must be careful not to step on the toes of regions and communities that are seeking congressional support directly. Mr. Oliver said that community support is key to the process. Mr. Blackwood questioned whether he or Ms. Stone should travel to D.C. periodically and Mr. Oliver said it was a good idea and would raise the awareness level to a high point. He said this was particularly important, as Congressman Hill has been a strong supporter of Lewis & Clark and will be leaving office. Mr. Staves offered to make contacts in D.C. as he is there frequently and added that if you have the blessing of the member and their staff is aware of this support, the staff will work with you on the details of a project. Mr. Cohn asked Mr. Oliver what he considered to be the number one priority over the next six months and Mr. Oliver responded that it would be the direct interface with the delegation. Mr. Oliver complimented the Commission's grants committee on their project selection, saying it was well thought out and fair. Mr. Blackwood offered to obtain a current list of congressional staff and provide it to the Commission in the next mailing. Mr. Oliver added that the National Park Service grants program has been increased substantially for next year over the $500,000 that was available this year. Mr. Oliver concluded by saying he is a resource for the Commission and encouraged them to contact him for assistance. Ms. Stone thanked Mr. Oliver for his presentation and he departed for another appointment.
Stone called for a brief recess.
Ms. Stone reconvened the meeting and called for introductions by Commission members and the audience. Commission members in attendance were Matthew Cohn, Jack Lepley, Edythe McCleary, Arnie Olsen, Homer Staves, Betty Stone, and staff members Clint Blackwood and Rita Cortright. Guests included Tom Hudson and Lorraine Roach with the Hingston Roach Group and Gail Brockbank, Premier Planning. Members of the audience were as follows: Victor Bjornberg, Carol Crockett, Vicki and Bob Munson, Margaret Gorski, Kim McMahon, Ken Richardson, Ann Goldhahn, Ron Clark and Doug Skiba.
Ms. Stone called for the presentation of the Master Plan by the Hingston Roach Group. Lorraine Roach introduced herself and Tom Hudson, and team member Gail Brockbank with Premier Planning. She said they have been working since March on the Commission's Statewide Master Plan and were presenting the Draft Master Plan today. She provided a handout copy of her PowerPoint presentation and reviewed the list of Stakeholders, the Criteria used for evaluating project proposals, and the Guiding Principles utilized in preparing the Draft Plan. Ms. Roach and Mr. Hudson reviewed their Three-tiered System of Strategic Programming. She also reviewed their rationale for dividing the state into Travel Corridors and suggested producing one statewide brochure with separate promotional pieces for each corridor. Each corridor and its highlights are noted in the printed version of her presentation. In her discussion of Statewide Programs, Ms. Roach noted the lack of specific proposals dealing with statewide emergency service coordination. In discussing Native American Priorities, Ms. Roach suggested establishing a separate grant pool for Tribal projects. Hotel occupancy figures were presented and reviewed. Ms. Roach said 80% of L&C events are planned between June and September, and hotels statewide are 70% booked in June and September, with 80% occupancy in July and August. This led to a discussion of Shoulder Season promotion. In discussing Promotional Timing, Ms. Roach said they feel that the Commission needs to spend significant energy helping communities recognize that the kickoff is January 2003, which is when the National Kickoff will take place. Ms. Roach reviewed the four steps outlined under Implementation of the Plan and reviewed the Resource Allocation to the Tiered System and the five key fundraising areas noted under Fundraising Strategy. In closing, Ms. Roach reviewed the Master Plan Schedule as outlined on the last page of the handout. After receiving comments, the Final Plan will be written and delivered to the Commission in September with final adoption planned during the October Commission meeting. Ms. Roach called for comments or questions. Mr. Staves addressed the Corridor designations and expressed concern that the entire trail was not designated as a Travel Corridor. Mr. Hudson explained their rationale for designating certain segments of the trail as Travel Corridors. He said that major sites exist in clusters and four of the five corridors include a major hub city. The fifth corridor is marketable mainly to adventure-seeking tourists. Their rationale was to divide the trail into "bite size" pieces for the traveling public that would also lend themselves to regional marketing. Mr. Blackwood also expressed concern that segments of the trail should not be left out of the Corridor designation. Mr. Hudson said he felt strongly about marketing something that is not there. His concern was based on the fact that some segments of the trail do not have significant attractions or events identified. He recognized that there are political issues here, but said it was his job to recommend not designating areas as Travel Corridors that do not contain significant attractions. He said Tier III provides the opportunity to encourage areas to act collectively and strategically to become a Travel Corridor. Mr. Staves said he felt it would be a mistake to publish anything that excluded portions of the Trail from the Corridor designation. Ms. McCleary agreed with this position. Mr. Blackwood noted the off-trail potential for communities, saying visitors will not focus entirely on Lewis & Clark, but will be seeking other types of activities as well as they travel to Corridor areas. Mr. Staves said he felt the Draft Master Plan was very well done, but suggested that until the Commission has had time to fully review it, the corridor designations should be general in nature. Ms. Roach and Mr. Hudson agreed with his suggestion to review the Corridor boundaries and names prior to public release of the Draft Plan. Mr. Cohn noted that the corridors as defined transcend the 6 Tourism Region's boundaries and will present challenges in the allocation of promotional funds. He suggested that Mr. Blackwood should attend the February TAC meeting to seek their assistance in producing the corridor brochures. Mr. Blackwood suggested developing an overlay map of the state groups over the corridor designations. Mr. Staves asked Mr. Blackwood to send his recommendations on the number, names and boundaries of the suggested corridors to the Commission. Ms. Stone said there was consensus that this portion of the Plan needs revision. Mr. Blackwood recapped that Commission comments need to be provided to the Hingston Roach Group immediately. Ms. Stone asked for comments by July 26th. Mr. Hudson welcomed comments and questions, either in writing or by phone. These comments will be incorporated and a second Draft Plan will be sent back out to the Commission for another comment period prior to public release of the document. Ms. Stone said a conference call would be scheduled if deemed necessary to resolve any conflicts. Mr. Blackwood expressed concern that because some Commissioners were absent and did not have the benefit of hearing the presentation first-hand, they would have difficulty understanding the Plan based only on the written report. Mr. Staves did not feel this would be the case. Ms. Stone asked about incorporating emergency services planning and Ms. Roach suggested that a first step could be sending a questionnaire to counties, key hospitals and emergency service personnel regarding their key concerns and issues. This information could be reviewed and a determination made at that time regarding how to proceed. Spreadsheets of the Tier I and Tier II projects will also be provided to the Commission for their review and input. Mr. Hudson explained that they reviewed narrative for 311 project templates; however, the budgets were not reviewed. Ms. Roach explained that in some cases the narrative provided was very limited, and said many projects on the Tier II list are not really related to the L&C Bicentennial. Mr. Blackwood said he envisioned sending the Tier I listing to the National Council as Montana's priority project list. The deadline for project submittal to the National Council for inclusion in the next Congressional budgeting cycle is September 18 and Mr. Blackwood said comments on the Tier I list will need to be in a format that can be evaluated and submitted. Mr. Hudson cautioned that the budget figures have not been evaluated. Ms. Roach said they could identify projects they feel are candidates for Congressional funding. In cases where there is not sufficient documentation to justify the budgeted amount, she said money could be requested from Congress for a business planning feasibility study process for those projects. Then a more realistic request for funding could be made. Mr. Blackwood said the first step is for the Commission to review Tier I and II and get comments to the Hingston Roach Group. They will evaluate the comments and help propose what will be designated as Tier I projects in the Master Plan, and also which projects the Commission would submit to the National Council. This submittal list will also have to be provided to the Commission for their approval prior to the September 18 deadline. Mr. Hudson reminded the Commission of their contract deadline and said they are already behind due to the late submittal of required information. Ms. Stone asked Commissioners to provide their comments and concerns to Clint by July 26.
Committee Report - Licensing/Endorsement and Promotion - Arnie Olsen
Mr. Olsen reported on this morning's committee meeting. He referenced the Hingston Roach Group's report, "Product Licensing & Sponsorship Feasibility Analysis Report." Mr. Olsen said the consultants looked at the feasibility of doing product licensing for the State of Montana versus tying into the National program. He said they expressed concerns about the marketability of the state logo, saying it did not meet the standards of national marketing criteria. Because there are already so many items with Lewis & Clark logos, the question was raised of how distinctive we could be in Montana. The consultants recommended not pursuing a state product licensing program, but recommended instead becoming involved as a revenue-sharing partner at the national level. Mr. Olsen said the advantage for Montana is that we would receive a cut of the revenues from companies marketing nationwide. Some Montana companies could be encouraged to distribute nationally, but we would get the revenue benefit of products not produced or sold in Montana. In terms of sponsorship, Mr. Olsen said there was a feeling that the Commission should be in tune with National sponsorships, and may be able to pick up a couple or tie into them, but felt there is good market potential for sponsorships in Montana. Thirty businesses were surveyed and provided positive responses regarding support for local sponsorships. He summarized the committee's recommendations as follows: no to immediately implementing a statewide product licensing program and yes to tying into the National Sponsorship Program, as well as focusing on Montana company sponsorships. The Selection Committee approved the consultants moving forward with completing the Product Licensing and Sponsorship Strategy as outlined in their current contract. They will develop the strategy and provide a proposal on its implementation. Mr. Blackwood said the Selection Committee would have their recommendation ready for presentation and approval at the October Commission meeting. Ms. Stone said the committee was empowered at the last meeting to proceed so a vote was not needed today to empower the consultant to complete the referenced Strategy.
Ms. McMahon asked if fragile areas protection in cooperation with agencies was taken into consideration in drafting the Master Plan. Ms. Roach said there were areas they wanted to de-emphasize, which was part of the rational for the Travel Corridor plan. Vicki Munson asked if help would be available for private landowners in the protection of their sites and resources. Ms. Stone explained that funds might be available through the Undaunted Stewardship Program if it receives funding. Mr. Blackwood explained that the National Trail Heritage Foundation is doing a Trail Stewardship Project and part of it will be to literally identify every owner of every piece of property along the trail. They will create an education packet to be shared with private landowners. He was not sure if this would also include recommendations for funding. Margaret Gorski spoke in support of more work on the marketing strategy because of the resource protection and limited capacity issues.
The meeting adjourned at 3:45 p.m. with a motion by Homer Staves and seconded by Jack Lepley.
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