Montana Downtown & Main Street Conference Seen & Unseen: Community Vision & Resources

You, your staff, board members, partners and community members are invited to the

12th annual Montana Downtown & Main Street Conference
October 23-25, 2019 | Downtown Missoula, Montana

Enjoy two full days of inspiration and education for all who focus on community development and engagement. Hosted by the Downtown Missoula Partnership and Destination Missoula, the conference will feature panel topics and tours of planning and implementation, arts and culture, marketing and events, place-making, and tourism to help build and promote your downtown.

The conference is open to Main Street and downtown district promoters, elected officials, city staff and planners, architects, engineers, property owners, business owners, chambers of commerce, and anyone interested in promoting and revitalizing downtowns and Main Streets.

This event was produced with support from Destination Missoula & the Missoula Tourism Business Improvement District.


The 2019 Montana Downtown and Main Street Conference will offer two full days of programming and will provide two tracts of learning: small towns and big towns. Follow prompts to register for the conference. Early Bird Registration with lower pricing begins now. Registration includes keynote dinner on Thursday and lunch all three days.

  • $100 Registration Fee for Thursday only
  • $150: Early Bird Registration (register before August 17, 2019)
  • $175: Regular Registration (August 17-September 30, 2019)
  • $200: Late Registration (October 1-October 18, 2019)
  • $225: Last Minute Registration (October 19-23, 2019)

(Panelists receive $25 discount against registration except for Thursday only registration.)

Montana Downtown & Main Street Conference

Attendee Registration

  • Add a new row

Stay at the recently-renovated Holiday Inn Downtown Missoula on the Clark Fork River or at the brand- new Missoula Mercantile Residence Inn by Marriott.  A limited number of rooms are available so reserve your lodging today.

  • Holiday Inn Downtown
    • 200 S. Pattee, Missoula, MT 59802
    • Book Here
    • Phone: 406-721-8550
    • Newly remodeled
  • Residence Inn by Marriott
    • 125 S. Pattee, Missoula, MT 59802
    • Book Here
    • Phone: 406-542-6252
    • New Missoula hotel

Downtown Missoula is a vibrant area filled with fabulous shops and restaurants. Plan your weekend before you get into town! Stay for the weekend and enjoy our Missoula Community Theatre Friday night production of Freaky Friday at the MCT Center for Performing Arts. Saturday’s University of Montana football features the Grizzly’s hosting the Eastern Washington Eagles. Purchase your tickets to either of these events below.

Freaky Friday UM Grizzlies vs. EWU Eagles


Conference Schedule (Subject to Change)

Wednesday | October 23
  • 11:00 a.m. – Conference check-in and Late Registration at Holiday Inn Downtown (200 S. Pattee)
  • 11:30 a.m. – Opening Luncheon and Welcome by Mayor John Engen
  • 1 p.m. – Pertinent Topics Discussion (post lunch)
  •  2 p.m.- Public Art Presentation and Tour with Geoff Badenoch at Missoula Mercantile Residence Inn meeting room (90 minutes) (125 N. Pattee)
  • Or –  Unseen Missoula Tour meet at A Carousel for Missoula in Caras Park (90 minutes)
  • 3:45 p.m. – BREAK – Hotel check-in
  • 4:30 – 6 p.m. – Networking Cocktail Party – Hosted at Stockman Bank by CTA Inc. (321 W. Broadway)
  • 6 p.m. – Ladies Night Out, retail experience, and dinner on your own

Thursday | October 24

  • 7:30 a.m. – Continental Breakfast hosted by First Interstate Bank, 6th floor, (101 E. Front: please enter through Higgins St. doors)
  • 8:45 a.m.- Montana Main Street Overview held at Holiday Inn by Tash Wisemiller and staff, Montana Dept. Commerce, (60 to 90 minutes) at Holiday Inn Downtown
  • 10:00 a.m. – Master Plans for Small Towns and Cities – by Benjamin Levenger, President, Downtown Redevelopment Services, at Holiday Inn Downtown (60 minutes)
  • Or – Heritage Interpretation for a Vibrant Downtown – Alan Newell, Jimmy Grant at Holiday Inn Downtown (60 minutes)
  • 11:00 a.m. – Planning for Prosperity by MoFI with David Glaser, President, at Holiday Inn Downtown (60 minutes)
  • Or – Downtown Livability Panel and Tour with Heather McMilin, Housing Development Director, Homeword – TBD
  • Noon to 1:15 p.m. – Lunch:  Hosted by Downtown Missoula Partnership – On Your Own
  • 1:30 p.m. – Public and Private Public Partnerships by Ellen Buchannan, Director, Missoula Redevelopment Agency, at Holiday Inn Downtown
  • Or- Building Sustainability for Communities by Katie Deuel, Executive Director, Home ReSource, at Holiday Inn Downtown
  • 2:45 p.m. – The Value of City Parks Walking Tour with David Selvage, Missoula Parks and Recreation, meet at Holiday Inn.
  • 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. – Networking Cocktail Party – Hosted by A&E Architects at Missoula Mercantile (125 N. Pattee)
  • 6:00 p.m. – Keynote Dinner at Holiday Inn Downtown, with Keynote speaker James Lindberg, Senior Policy Director, National Trust for Historic Preservation
Friday | October 25
  • 7:45 a.m. – Continental Breakfast hosted at Holiday Inn DowntownAnd, Downtown Directors’ Breakfast – 7 cities at Holiday Inn Downtown
  • 8:45 a.m. – Historical Building Restoration: Tools for Preservation Montana, hosted by Jim McDonald, at Holiday Inn Downtown
  • Or – Increasing Business Through Tourism by Destination Missoula, moderated by Barbara Neilan, Executive Director, Destination Missoula and Missoula Tourism Business Improvement District, at Holiday Inn Downtown
  • 10 a.m. – Pertinent Topics Review and Conference Questionair
  • 11 a.m. – Closing Comments
  • 12 p.m. – Lunch On Your Own

Parking: Please park in the Holiday Inn parking lot after picking up a parking pass at the front desk. Daily passes are required for those not staying at the Holiday Inn.

Contact: John R Corwin

Business Development Director

Downtown Missoula Partnership

218 East Main St.

Missoula, MT 59802

Office: 406-543-4238 Cell: 406-396-0634

Email: [email protected]



  • Increasing Business Through Tourism: Destination Missoula. Moderator Barbara Neilan, ED of Destination Missoula and Missoula Tourism Business Improvement District. The mission of both entities is to market Missoula to the greater world, promoting economic growth, all while enhancing our quality of life. Panelists joining Barbara are Racene Friede, ED for Glacier Country Tourism, and actively involved with Tourism Matters to Montana, Voices of Montana Tourism, and the Montana Chamber of Commerce, and Jim McGowan, owner of WINDFALL, with partner and wife Erika, a full-service advertising and public relations firm. They represent five of Montana’s six tourism regions with a staff of 22 full time employees.
  • The Value of Public Art for Cities and Towns: (tour and presentation) with Geoff Badenoch, a private project management consultant. This panel will discuss the value and importance of public art as an investment by citizens and a benefit to tourism. Geoff, born in Glendive, is past Director Missoula Redevelopment Agency. He has a long history as a community volunteer. He serves on the Supervisory Committee at Clearwater Credit Union, on the Missoula Downtown Partnership Board, Missoula Downtown Foundation, and The Foundation for Missoula Public Library.
  • Historical Building Restoration: Tools for Preservation Montana: Moderator Jim McDonald, architect, A & E Architects. This panel will present the tools for rehabilitation and repurposing of your downtown historic buildings. Panel speakers include Pete Brown Montana SHPO, Chere Jiusto, ED Montana Preservation Alliance, Emily Scherrer, Missoula Preservation Officer, and Jim Lindberg, National Trust and keynote speaker.
  • Planning for Prosperity: with Dave Glaser, President, MoFI. This panel will explore the different pathways used by local government officials, city planners, business owners, and community members as they connect their economic development goals with capital resources. They’ll discuss specific projects in rural and urban areas, and share individual successes as well as lessons learned.  Panelists include Chris Naumann, ED Downtown Bozeman Partnership, Karen Byrnes, Community Development Director, City-County of Butte-Silverbow, Andrea Marcoccio, ED Bonner Co. Economic Development Corp and co-owner of Matchwood Brewing Co., Sandpoint, ID.
  • Montana Main Street Program: with Tash Wisemiller, Community & Economic Vitality Program Manager, Montana Department of Commerce. The Montana Main Street Program, established in 2005 and currently serving twenty-seven communities across the state, is a collaborative effort between the Community Development Division and the Montana Office of Tourism at the Montana Department of Commerce. The program helps communities strengthen and preserve their historic downtown commercial districts by focusing on economic development, urban revitalization, and historic preservation through long-range planning, organization, design, and promotion.
  • Master Plans for Small Towns and Cities: with Benjamin Levenger, President, Downtown Redevelopment Services LLC. The company is a boutique planning firm specializing in assisting communities through community master planning and developer-readiness projects throughout the continental United States. The company will provide effective and efficient master planning tips and tricks. Also, it will discuss methods for assessing needs and creating a clear and concise picture where a community wants to go.
  • Public/Private Partnerships: with Ellen Buchanan, Director,  Missoula Redevelopment Agency. This panel will look at some significant projects in Missoula that were enhanced through the use of Tax Increment Financing funds in partnership with private investment. One highlighted project involved First Interstate Bank’s construction of a new six story bank and Class A office building which supported the construction of a new parking structure. She will be joined by Dave Olson of First Interstate Bank to talk about the importance of the partnership for their project.
  • Heritage Interpretation for a Vibrant Downtown: Moderator Alan Newell. Alan founded and owned two Montana Businesses: Historical Research Associated, Inc. and Litigation Abstract, Inc. until his retirement in 2006. He has been involved in developing Missoula’s Downtown Heritage Interpretive plan and “Unseen Missoula” program. He is a local property owner in Downtown Missoula and president of the Missoula Downtown Foundation. He also served 8 years on the Missoula Downtown Business Improvement District.
  • Downtown Livability: tour and presentation by Homeword and led by Heather McMilin, Housing Development Director. The tour will view downtown living projects developed by Homeword and reference other projects in the area. Homeword began in 1994 in response to the growing need for homes Montanans can afford. They are regionally and national recognized for their homes and programming. They also teach financial skill building and renter workshops, as well as provide homebuyer education and counselling, as the first steps towards self-empowerment and self-sufficiency.
  • Building Sustainability for Communities: Moderator Katie Deuel, ED Home ReSource, A Community Sustainability Center.  The mission of Home ReSource is to work with, in, and for the community to reduce waste and build a more vibrant and sustainable local economy. They collect and sell reusable materials, channel materials to those in need, provide meaningful work opportunities, and educate and inspire to promote a sustainable future.
  • The Value of City Parks Walking Tour: led by David Selvage, Missoula Parks & Recreation’s Systems & Services Seperintendent. David holds a Masters in Planning and has over 30 years of experience working and consulting on Parks, Recreation, Trails and Open Space needs. David has significant planning, design, construction, policy and park management experience. David’s experience and problem solving skill set integrates park and recreation values with community needs to plan and advance endeavors that meet the unique needs of each community’s citizens, elected officials, neighborhoods, partners, clients, and special interest groups.
  • Unseen Missoula: tour and presentation by the partnership of Missoula Downtown Association, Historical Museum of Fort Missoula, City of Missoula Historic Preservation Office and Historical Research Associates.  The program is an historical guided tour promoting the heritage and uniqueness of downtown Missoula.
  • Networking and cocktail gathering: Wednesday at Stockman Bank and sponsored by CTA and Thursday at Residence Inn Marriot and sponsored by A&E Architects

We Are Pleased to Announce our Keynote Speaker: Jim Lindberg

James B. Lindberg is Senior Policy Director at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Based in Denver, he works with partners across the country, providing policy research and solutions for more inclusive, healthy, and resilient communities.

Jim has led several nationally recognized preservation and sustainable development projects for the National Trust, including the adaptive use of a former dude ranch in Rocky Mountain National Park and the green rehabilitation of a historic school in Denver. He is the author of numerous articles and books on architecture, planning, and preservation and is a lecturer in the College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Colorado Denver.