BNSF Railway is promoting Libby as an area ripe for new rail-reliant development. The Kootenai Business Park is one of three industrial sites nationwide BNSF is spotlighting this year.
BNSF’s Certified Sites program identifies and promotes areas it deems “shovel-ready” for new businesses to set up shop. The designation is based on an evaluation of environmental standards, available utilities and existing infrastructure. It’s meant to lower risk for companies looking to develop quickly in an area that can speedily ship goods to market.
Tina Oliphant is the executive director of the Lincoln County Port Authority, which owns and operates the 400-acre Kootenai Business Park. She says being showcased by BNSF is a marketing windfall Libby wouldn’t come by on its own.
"That is a massive advantage for us that we could not buy any other way. Just that access to that portion of the market that would be interested in a site such as Libby has, is tremendous for us.," Oliphant says.
The Business Park boasts 120 acres of land zoned heavy industrial with immediate access to a 1,400 foot rail spur that connects to BNSF’s mainline. Oliphant says the Business Park is well suited to a manufacturer that ships nationally, or a company looking to store its fleet along the railspur.
Companies like F&H Mine Supply already use old buildings on the property. A 100,000-foot warehouse is for sale.
The Business Park was previously owned by Stimson Lumber and is in the final phases of Superfund cleanup as part of the Libby Asbestos site.
Shelby and Great Falls are also among the total 16 BNSF Certified Sites.