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What is a Community Review?

IRP is most known for coordinating the Idaho Community Review program.   The 40+ community reviews completed since 2000 have helped rural leaders and residents establish priorities, access grant funding and achieve economic development goals.  The program is open to communities with populations under 10,000 people.

The process leaves community residents and leaders better prepared to manage change on their own terms and respond to opportunities and challenges. More specifically, the community review process can help your community:

  • reach agreement about community priorities and economic development opportunities.
  • support future grant applications with objective, professional assessment of local conditions and opportunities along with the in-kind value of the community review process
  • identify sources of funding, technical assistance, and best practices
  • improve community decision-making and leadership strategies
  • increase the number of residents involved in community organizations and projects
  • strengthen relationships with agencies that provide funding and assistance

The community review process includes three phases:

  • Phase 1:  Listen
  • Phase 2:  Learn
  • Phase 3:  Launch

All communities accepted into the program complete Phase 1.  Communities that demonstrate the interest and readiness have the option of also completing Phases 2 and 3. 

While IRP coordinates the overall review process, each community is expected to invest in their review by assigning people, time, energy, and resources to the process and related follow-up activities. Success depends on faithful participation from a true cross-section of your community.  The community also has some responsibility to raise funds to support each phase of the community review. This fundraising effort is typically done in collaboration with IRP staff.

Each of the three phases of the community review process provide numerous opportunities for community residents and leaders to share their experiences, knowledge, opinions, and ideas with visiting community and economic development professionals. These professionals comprise what we call the “Visiting Team.”  Your community will identify people to serve on its “Home Team.”

Phone and email communication with IRP staff is strongly encouraged prior to submitting an application. These pre-application conversations address expectations, funding, logistics, community participation, and scheduling. We also recommend collaborating with your local or regional economic development organization to complete the application.

The cover letter, program guide and application form below provide detailed information about the program and the application process.  Inquiries about the program can be sent to irpcommunityreview@irp.idaho.gov.  The IRP office can also be contacted at 208-332-1731.  


Community Review Reports

 Harrison Community Review Phase II (March 3-4, 2022)

 Harrison Community Review Phase 1 (September 17-19, 2019)

 Blackfoot Community Review Phase 1 (May 7-9, 2019)

 Ashton Community Review Phase II (April 23-25, 2019)

 McCammon Community Review Phase II (October 23-24, 2018)

 Ashton Community Review Phase 1 (October 14-16, 2018)

 McCammon Community Review Phase 1 (August 2018)

 Plummer Community Review (September 17-20, 2017)

 Kimberly Community Review (April 18-20, 2017)

 Athol Community Review (October 4-6, 2016)

 Cascade Community Review (April 26-28, 2016)

 Kootenai Community Review (September 29 - October 1, 2015)

 Fairfield Community Review (June 24-25, 2015)

 Preston Community Review (March 3-5, 2015)

 Lost Rivers Community Review (September 23-25, 2014)

 Rigby Community Review (June 3 - 5, 2014)

 Aberdeen Community Review (March 4 - 6, 2014)

 Sandpoint Community Review (September 17 - 19, 2013)

 Dubois Community Review (June 5 - 6, 2013)

 Grand View Community Review (February 13 - 14, 2013) 

 Driggs Community Review (September 11 - 13, 2012)

 Nez Perce Tribe & City of Lapwai (June 12-14, 2012)

 Glenns Ferry Community Review (March 6-8, 2012)

 Silver Valley Community Review (September 13-15, 2011)

 New Meadows Review (May 17-19, 2011)

 Bonners Ferry Community Review (September 21 - 23, 2010)

 Gooding Report Community Review (May 5 - 8, 2009)

 American Falls Community Review (November 12-14, 2008)

 Kamiah Community Review (April 15-17, 2008)

 Soda Springs Community Review (August 21-23, 2007)

 Payette Community Review (July, 2007)

 Valley & Adams Counties Planning Partnership

 Valley Adams Planning Partnership - 2007 update

 Stanley Community Review (December 20, 2006)

 St. Maries Community Review (September 2006)

 Malad Community Review (June 20-22, 2006)

 Ashton Community Review (October 25-27, 2005)

 Kuna Community Review Report (March 7-9, 2005)

 Rexburg Community Review (September 8-10, 2004)

 Salmon Community Review (May 12-14, 2004)

 Emmett Community Review (May 20-21, 2003)

 Buhl Community Review (May 13-14, 2002)

 Weiser Community Review (March 12-13, 2002)

 Priest River Community Review (September 27-28, 2001)

 Kooskia Community Review (May 15-16, 2001)

 Hayden Community Review (April 25-26, 2001)

 Jerome Community Review (March 1-2, 2001)

 Heyburn Community Review (September 28-29, 2000)

 Community Review Progress Report

Community Review Testimonials

This letter is being sent to document community accomplishments and economic benefit following the September 11-13, 2012 Driggs Community Review. The City received the report in April 2013 and it received an enthusiastic welcome from the Community Review Home Team, City Council and community in general. We are thankful for the opportunity to have participated in this thoughtful and beneficial program.

Following the recommendations in the report under Economic Development, the City and its economic development partners have celebrated two new businesses on Main Street. While we lost two retail businesses on Little Avenue, we were able to attract two replacement businesses (health and fitness) with no net jobs change. One retail store is in the process of transitioning ownership, and no other retailers have closed. In total, 4 new retail sector jobs have been created by new businesses.

Additional job creation is assumed in the retail sector as retail sales have continued to increase at around 8-10% per year. Department of Labor statistics show unemployment has declined since the Community Review.

The City followed through with the report recommendations and helped to create a county-wide Economic Development Coordinator position (a new job created), which has recently been filled. The City is working with this person to implement the adopted Economic Development Plan, which itself contains many of the policies outlined in the report.

The City is working with The Development Company (ECIPDA) on the development of an EDA funded Business Development and Workforce Training Center in a vacant building in North Driggs to address workforce training needs and to provide expanded business incubator facilities, potentially including a full commercial kitchen (a recommendation of the Community Review report).

The City has continued to fill spaces in its existing, 20 year old business incubator building. The latest tenant is expanding an existing business and hiring one new employee. The city is applying for a small amount of GEM grant funds to complete improvements to one of the suites to allowfor leasing to beverage manufacturing start-ups. The City has two interested businesses and expects to sign a lease upon the grant being awarded.

The City is currently exploring “localvesting” options as outlined in the report. We have found that this is one of the most-requested forms of assistance. The city funds a microloan program through ECIPDA, however we have not seen any business be successful in an application for these funds. This tells us that a more flexible, and perhaps more local, program is needed.

The City has created a Chance Meetings Entrepreneurial Networking Event, which occurs monthly as a way for entrepreneurs and established business owners and others to network and help identify and activate solutions that grow existing and new businesses in Teton Valley.

The City, Driggs Urban Renewal Agency, and Downtown Driggs Community Association, are following the reports recommendations to continue investing in the core downtown. The City applied for designation as a Main Street Community under the Idaho Department of Commerce’s new program and was accepted along with two other communities into the program. The City has scheduled a groundbreaking for the Teton Scenic Byway Visitors Center (aka Teton GeoTourism Center) for January 6, 2014. This facility will be an anchor for a revitalized downtown and visitor retail district.

The City of Driggs applied for and received a Community Choices grant under the Idaho Transportation Department for redevelopment of West Little Avenue to complete sidewalk infrastructure, stormwater improvements and streetscape enhancement. An LHTAC application is now pending for the tandem work of reconstructing the deteriorated roadway.

The next large undertaking will be development and implementation of a community wayfinding system. This will involve a broad effort and challenging effort, but we feel the advice laid out in the Community Review report has given us a leg up on this important project.

There are myriad other programs and projects ongoing and initiating that are tied to the recommendations in the Community Review report. Suffice it to say that the report is a well-used reference for the City and its many partners that continue to work for a community that we can all be proud of.

Thank you again for this opportunity.

Doug Self, AICP
Community Development Director
City of Driggs

The City of American Falls in partnership with the Great Rift Business Development Organization was able to participate in a Community Review during November 2008. The Idaho Rural Partnership was instrumental in bringing together the professionals from government and business entities who donated their time and talents to review the assets and opportunities the American Falls area possessed. After the Community Review was completed the city was able to apply for a Gem Grant, which was awarded to the city by the Idaho State Department of Commerce. This grant was used to develop a Downtown Revitalization Plan for the City of American Falls. With the plan in place, the city was in a position to recently apply for a federal Tiger III Grant. The amount of 2.3 million dollars was awarded to the city in December 2011. The value of a Community Review cannot be overestimated. The momentum was built during the three days of the review, and it carried forward to the present day. I highly recommend a Community Review to any community considering it, and I cannot say enough about the program and the volunteers who make it possible. Thank you Idaho Rural Partnership!
Kristen Jensen
Executive Director, Great Rift Business Development Organization