Valley County Could Win $3M ‘Best Communities’ Contest

Apr 18, 2017

Update, April 20: The Valley County team did not take home one of the top prizes in Denver, despite making it to the finals. 

For the last few years, McCall resident Sherry Maupin has led the effort to get Valley County a big cash prize at the America’s Best Communities contest. The first prize winner will get $3M, which Maupin says will go directly to the county’s economic development.

With eight communities from across the country in the running, she is quite confident they will come in first.

“We are what this contest was designed for," says Maupin. "We’re rural America. A lot of the other communities are bedroom communities of very large metropolitan areas. We’re not. Our plan is one that is sustainable. We started this plan, we built this plan, [and] we designed this plan.”

The competition is sponsored by private companies. Valley County has been through several rounds of the three-year contest. Last year, they were awarded $100,000 to begin work on their plan. Maupin says they’ve completed almost everything on their list in the last 11 months, including hiring an executive director to lead their economic development council.

But she says even if they lose, they still plan to create a community foundation and to continue the work they’ve begun.

“This region is working very cohesively together – we have formed partnerships in our other sister cities and really have great working relationships going forward.”

At a time when many rural communities are struggling, the county is working to buck this trend. The contest winners will be announced Wednesday night in Denver.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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