Community Planning

Bear Paw Development works with member local governments to assess needs, identify funding opportunities, set priorities, and prepare applications for economic and community planning activities in their areas. Bear Paw's Director of Community Planning serves as the liaison between local governments and state and federal agencies for selected activities, including the development and administration of projects funded in part through grants from the CDBG program, Big Sky Trust Fund and Montana Department of Transportation, among others.

Bear Paw's Planning Department updates the District's Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) on an annual basis. The CEDS document is an economic roadmap for the District, designed to improve and strengthen the economy and quality of life in northern Montana. Bear Paw's Planner is assisted in this effort by the Bear Paw Strategy Committee, an advisory group predominantly comprised of private sector individuals from across the District. The Strategy Committee provides valuable insight into the economic conditions of northern Montana.

What is a CEDS?
A Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, or CEDS, is a strategic planning document designed to help guide the economic growth of an area.  It is a regional strategy which reflects local economic development needs and priorities and recommends a regional approach to achieving sustainable economic development. A CEDS is required to qualify for U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) assistance under its Public Works and Planning Programs.

Contact us or visit our Frequently Asked Questions.

EPA Brownfields Program

What is a Brownfield?
A Brownfield is a property where its expansion, redevelopment, or reuse is complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.

Brownfields Assessment Program
In 2009, 2011 and again in 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded Bear Paw Development Corporation a $400,000 Brownfield Assessment Grant to complete environmental assessments on properties contaminated with petroleum and hazardous substances, including asbestos and lead-based paint.  The Bear Paw Brownfield Program is voluntary and assessments are performed at no charge to the property owner.  Information generated from the assessments can be used to satisfy purchaser concerns, regulatory agency requirements, or simply to determine whether or not environmental contamination exists on a property. 

Brownfields Loan Program
In 2011, the EPA awarded Bear Paw Development Corporation a $1,000,000 grant to capitalize a Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund.  The program provides low-to-no-interest loans to eligible applicants for the purpose of remediating Brownfield sites.  Local governments and non-profit organizations may also be eligible for a sub-grant to clean-up a contaminated property.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the Brownfield Program or to discuss if your property is eligible for assessment. Let us know if you would like to be included on our mailing list that will be used to notify interested parties of upcoming events, project milestones, etc.

Sara Strissel

Director of Community Planning and Brownfields 

Email Sara


Building Partnerships for Community and Economic Development

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300 Second Avenue
P.O. Box 170, Havre, MT 59501