Gov. Gianforte: Paradise Valley Is Open for Business
PRAY, Mont. – Governor Greg Gianforte today celebrated the reopening of the US Highway 89 bridge, before visiting local businesses in the region impacted by the flood disaster.
“Thanks to tireless efforts of hardworking, resilient Montanans, we are recovering and rebuilding,” Gov. Gianforte said. “We’ll continue to promote all that Paradise Valley and our gateway communities have to offer, and the state will continue to bring its resources to bear to support our communities and small businesses.”
Gov. Gianforte shakes hands with Kyle DeMars from the Montana Department of Transportation ahead of US 89 reopening
Traveling to the Yankee Jim Canyon area of Paradise Valley, the governor met with Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) officials and employees with Riverside Contracting who have been working tirelessly to reopen US-89 to regular traffic.
Damaged in flooding last week, US 89 serves as a critical access point to the Yellowstone National Park gateway community of Gardiner. This afternoon, it reopened to the public.
Meeting with officials on the ground today as they put final posts in the ground, the governor heard from Bozeman Division Maintenance Chief for the Montana Department of Transportation Kyle DeMars about what has made the reconstruction successful.
“We’re incredibly proud of our crews for working quickly and as a team to get US Highway 89 reopened for Montanans and visitors to our state,” DeMars said. “No one agency can do this by themselves – it took all hands on deck, just as it is on our flood recovery projects across the region.”
US 89 is now open to the public at lower speeds, restoring access to Gardiner via the roadway.
Heading back up the valley, the governor stopped in Emigrant to support a community staple and popular welcoming point for visitors to Paradise Valley, the Emigrant General Store. There he grabbed a drink and chatted with employees as the county, which brings in $200 million annually from tourism, recovers and rebuilds.
Then, Gov. Gianforte visited with Colin Davis, owner of Chico Hot Springs, to discuss tourism and recreation opportunities this summer in Paradise Valley for Montanans and visitors to the state.
The hotel has seen 25-percent of their reservations for the summer canceled since flooding began last week.
“There’s never been a more important time to rally around our communities and support their success in the wake of this disaster. Come on down to Paradise Valley for a weekend away and support some of the amazing businesses here like Chico,” Gov. Gianforte said.
Gov. Gianforte chats with owner Colin Davis and a staff member at the Chico Saloon
The governor also shared with Davis news of US 89 reopening moments before his arrival.
“We appreciate the work and the speed. It means the world to this valley, it really does,” Davis told the governor.
Gov. Gianforte declared a statewide disaster in Montana due to heavy rainfall and rapid snowmelt causing rivers, creeks, and low-lying areas in certain regions of Montana to flood. Working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the state secured a presidential major disaster declaration for Park, Stillwater, and Carbon counties.
Last Friday, the governor surveyed flood damage in Gardiner, convening a roundtable with local business owners to discuss response and recovery efforts.
On Monday, Gov. Gianforte traveled to the Flathead to survey flood damage as the state gathers data to add Flathead County to the presidential major disaster declaration.
On Tuesday, the governor met with first responders, residents, small business owners, and agricultural producers in Carbon and Stillwater counties as communities in the region rebuild from flooding.