Border board devising strategy amid requests for funding

After requests for funding for various projects, the public body established to grow the economy
along the Malheur County and Idaho border is setting up a work group to devise a strategy to
handle unsolicited funding requests.  
In December, the Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Board – known as the Border
Board – had a request for money for the Treasure Valley Reload Center. 
Before that, the Ontario Recreation District sought $2 million. 
At the board’s Dec. 5 meeting, Grant Kitamura, president of the development company, and
Greg Smith, a Heppner contractor managing the reload center, had banked on the border board
approving a $1.5 million cash infusion. However, the board told Kitamura that the board could
not make such a grant. 
Tiffany Cruickshank, board chair, said the public body needs to devise a process to handle large
funding requests. 
“I am hopeful the work group will have a proposal for the board to discuss at the January
meeting,” she said in an email Thursday, Dec. 29. 
In November, Andrew Maeda, executive director of the Ontario Recreation District, requested
$2 million for a Community Recreation Center that would include the long-planned outdoor pool.
The district is looking to construct an outdoor pool that would include a cover and shade
structure, tennis courts, a skate park and a gymnasium, according to the border board’s
November meeting minutes. 
So far, the recreation district has completed the first two phases of the project, which include a
locker room and splash pad. Like the reload center, the board did not approve the request due
to needing a process in place to handle the large, unsolicited funding requests. 
Last year, the Legislature allocated $6 million in additional funding to the border board. Since
then, the board has been mulling how to spend the money. 
Earlier this year, the board received results from a four-question survey that went out to
residents in the county in July. 
In a survey conducted last summer, the board heard from 50 residents about priorities they
wanted. That prompted the board to list five priorities for its money, using loans and grants.
Those areas include leadership development, resources for new businesses and startups,
coordinating with other agencies to address homelessness and mental health, and making
utilities and broadband more accessible to new companies or those looking to expand in the

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