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PRESS RELEASE - October 5, 2011

Media Contacts:
Christy Stensland, Executive Director, (406) 653-3800, CStensland@montanacowboyfame.com 

Aaron Lyles, Director of Finance, (406) 600-8231,                  ALyles@montanacowboyfame.com

MCHF & WHC ONE STEP CLOSER TO DECISION ON FUTURE BUILDING SITE

The Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center (MCHF & WHC) Board of Directors was pleased to announce today the list of respondents that have submitted proposals to “Phase Two” of a three phase Request For Proposals selection process that will decide the organization’s future building site. 

Proposals have been submitted from:  Eastern Plains Economic Development Corporation, Terry;  Madison County Economic Development Corporation, Madison County; Miles City Chamber of Commerce, Miles City ; Missouri Valley Development Corporation, Wolf Point; Montana Event Center, Huntley; Musselshell County Commissioners, Roundup; Park County Extension Service, Livingston; PhillCo Economic Growth Council, Malta; Ryan Hamilton on behalf of the Community of Big Sky; and Sweet Grass County Commissioners, Big Timber.   

The Request for Proposals Evaluation Committee will now take up the task of evaluating each proposal response against a standard set of criteria.  From this evaluation the MCHF & WHC Board will announce a field of finalists to be considered in the third and final phase of the selection process.  Each proposal will also be evaluated by an independent evaluator with expertise in non-profit administration and museum operations.  The third phase will include interviews and comprehensive negotiations with each of the finalist candidates.  The Board of Directors currently plans to announce the awarding of the future building site by the end of November. 

Directed by the organization’s vision to develop a facility that will serve as a “premier destination attraction that honors and celebrates Montana's unique western culture and heritage,” the MCHF & WHC has taken on the ambitious effort to move forward with development of the facility despite the economic downturn that has slowed or stopped many other major development projects.  Christy Stensland, MCHF & WHC executive director stated, “The support and sense of urgency that many feel about the need to capture our heritage before it is lost and to pass it forward to future generations has driven us to move forward with the project.  This site selection request for proposals process is an incredible undertaking for everyone involved.  It is humbling to see folks from all corners of the state join together and rally around the important task of honoring our cowboy way of life, American Indian cultures and our collective Montana Western heritage.” 

With the passage of H.B 528 in April, the Board of Directors moved to open the opportunity of being considered as the future building site of the MCHF & WHC to all Montana communities.  Aaron Lyles, MCHF & WHC director of finance stated, “The decision of issuing the request for proposals and allowing any interested community the opportunity to be considered was the best approach and most objective way to select our future building site.  The selection process requires the highest standards of transparency to meet the expectations of the public trust we operate under.”  The Board of Directors chose a traditional Request For Proposals process to administer the site selection.  Therefore, the organization could not comment at this time on any one community’s prospects or standing in the evaluation process. The organization will announce the finalist candidates upon the completion of the Phase Two evaluation.  Lyles continued, “Since no community can claim exclusive rights to our collective Montana Western heritage, this selection process had to be focused on an objective alignment of the resources necessary for accomplishing our vision and mission to those communities that have expressed a desire to be considered.  Though each community is anxiously waiting the final decision, it is clear after seeing the hundreds of letters of support that have poured into our office that no matter the final location our Montana community is behind the project.”