With a retirement pending, Missoula County this week announced its plans to expand the duties of its development director to a wider lands and economic development position.
Dori Brownlow, a longtime county employee who has served as the county’s director of development, will retire at the end of this fiscal year.
Brownlow helped spearhead a number of the county’s redevelopment efforts, including the development park at the airport and the Bonner development park, which now employs several hundred people.
Most recently, Brownlow led the creation of a new economic development district at the Wye.
“She’s done great work,” said Commissioner Josh Slotnick. “We all visited the development park out in Bonner and it’s incredible how many people are employed out there. She’s set us up for more of the same at the Wye.”
With Brownlow stepping down, the county will expand the duties of Emily Brock, a former Missoula City Council member who was hired to head the redevelopment of the county fairgrounds.
Brock will continue her role heading fairgrounds redevelopment while also filling Brownlow’s role managing the county’s tax increment financing districts and other redevelopment efforts.
“Anyone who has been to the fairgrounds has seen the phenomenal work that has been accomplished there,” said Chris Lounsbury, the county’s CAO. “Brock will continue to work with us as we grow and expand, and look at how we use county lands and property and how we look at redevelopment across that. That includes a host of building projects coming up.”
In recent years, Brock has deployed millions of dollars toward the redevelopment of the county fairgrounds. Along the way, she also worked with the Missoula Redevelopment Agency to direct tax increment financing toward a number of public projects, including trails and other fairgrounds improvements.
The county plans to take a more aggressive look at its redevelopment efforts moving forward.
“We’re continuing on in a new way and we’re fortunate that Brock can take her talents around creating complex financial arrangements that yield great land and economic development results into this program,” Slotnick said. “We’re beginning a new chapter right now.”
Brock said she was eager to take on more responsibility with the county and work across the various departments that play a role in economic redevelopment.
“I feel this is a great fit, especially as we go into strategic planning next year,” Brock said. “I’m glad we’re thinking with a broader scope on how we can impact the community as a whole and make sure we look at economic development not just for prosperity’s sake alone, but for equity and quality of life.”