2019 WCMEDC Year in Review

Economic snapshot:

  • $1.3b in CapEx in the pipeline
  • Population growth: 10% 2010-2018
  • Employment growth: 26% 2013-2018 (highest in Idaho)
  • Unemployment: 3.7%
  • Average wage (per capita): $46,550
  • Top employment sectors:
    • Government
    • Leisure/hospitality


  • Idaho Commerce
  • Valley County
  • Adams County
  • Cities: Cascade, Donnelly, McCall, New Meadows
  • Chambers: McCall, Donnelly, Cascade
  • Idaho SBDC & SBA
  • Dept. of Labor
  • University of Idaho Valley County Extension
  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • Nonprofits
  • National Parks Service


  • Workforce Development: In 2019 we completed a robust research project focused on identifying what our “low hanging fruit” opportunities look like for regional training and education delivery. Through these efforts, alongside the Idaho Policy Institute and BSU Master of Public Administration program, we have created a template for a regional Career and Technical School (CTS), provided data to the Cascade School District for their plan to hire a CTE instructor in agricultural education, expanded upon registered apprenticeship opportunities across the area, and are now working with Boise State University on a beta program for 2020 to deliver significant extended studies and career and degree paths locally. 
  • Housing: Through the summer and fall months, we surveyed over 600 employees in every community and sector across the region. This data is the road map for our regional housing initiative, which has produced benefits to several developers who are working on affordable housing projects in Cascade, Donnelly and McCall. We now know what to build, where to build it and at what price point. We know our strategic headwinds and opportunities and have a robust dataset to guide projects toward successful outcomes. 


  • Yellowpine: GEM grant for $39,385
  • North Lake: GEM grant for $50,000
  • EDPro: Commerce grant for $30,000
  • NPS: National Parks grant for technical assistance


  • Broadband conference in May–70 attendees which has led to meaningful expansion of fiber programming regionally and has been in lockstep with the City of McCall’s community fiber network. 
  • Business planning 101 training with Small Business Development Center in April–12 attendees, several businesses plans or expansions generated.
  • Nonprofit conference with Idaho Community Foundation in April–34 attendees, led to establishment of CUB McCall facility. 
  • Economic Summit in October with 124 attendees–produced feedback loop for 2020 planning and regional collaboration between and among industries and communities. 

Public Relations:

  • We saw regular press in 2019 with dozens of stories covering our work in the Star News, Idaho Business Review, BoiseDev, KTVB, Idaho Magazine and several others. 
  • Creation and launch of new scenic byways website and reassembly of byways board: http://payetteriverscenicbyway.org/

Business Attraction Partnerships and Alliances:

  • Cascade Bridge to Bridge
  • Packer John recreation master planning
  • Geothermal working group in Cascade
  • Regional food systems coordination with WCM Food Coalition
  • McCall downtown revitalization/redevelopment
  • Opportunity Zones

Business Retention/Expansion:

  • 109 business visits
  • Lots of interest in Opportunity Zones
  • Lots of interest in property tax exemption
  • Limited interest in tax incentives
  • Significant interest in SBDC/SBA/SCORE offerings for entrepreneurs 
  • Significant interest in financing opportunities through USDA/SBA


  • Broadband–McCall/regional plan to build out fiber infrastructure or implement community fiber platforms. May 17th fiber conference was the lead discussion on this effort. There are additional regional discussions in the pipeline for 2020. 
  • Yellowpine–Repair of community water system–project management and troubleshooting of repair with the Water Users Association and Idaho Rural Water Association. Should be completed by May of 2020.
  • North Lake Recreational Sewer and Water District–Retrofit of existing facility to receive regional septage waste. Should be complete by Summer 2020. 
  • Recycling–Working with the McCall Chamber Strategic Initiatives committee to move the needle on regional recycling and waste reduction. Working teams and tactics identified. Need to launch a master plan and process alongside partners. 



  • IMBA singletrack sidewalks study–completed community outreach and drafted Valley County ordinance to allow for construction of trails in county ROW
  • Donnelly town to lake flyway–Assisted with grants and outreach planning
  • Crown Point opportunity–Assisted with planning and outreach
  • Fish Lake opportunity–Working with stakeholders and agencies
  • Cascade ADV biking–Completed model and handed off to Peppershock Media and the Cascade Chamber
  • Packer John State Park regional planning–planning underway winter 2020. 
  • National Parks Service–awaiting official letter of successful grant but meetings already scheduled. 
  • Bridge to Bridge–connected with UI Extension for ripple mapping exercise. WCMEDC will remain an engaged partner in this effort. 
  • Weiser River Trail–working on grants for feasibility to construct 2 new miles of trail into New Meadows. 

Workforce Development:

  • Culinary training in April–16 enrolees, 14 graduates, 7 placed in jobs. Partnership with the City of McCall, Labor, UI Extension. 
  • BSU extended studies–working towards offering programming in 2020 with Valley County as one of 3 beta markets. This outcome will largely be driven by our data and research to date. 
  • Assisted Labor with program implementation for apprenticeships and outreach
  • CTE instructor in Cascade
  • MDSD strategic planning assistance via data and research/programming