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Philipsburg Rotary Club aims to bring more families to town

By Donovan Hill, KTVM Reporter, dhill@ktvm.com
Published On: Mar 11 2013 01:27:10 PM MDT
Updated On: Mar 06 2013 05:28:35 PM MST
BUTTE, Mont. -

The town of Philipsburg, located about 77 miles southeast of Missoula, is looking to make a big splash in the media world.

The Rotary Club of Philipsburg has started a yearlong campaign aimed toward attracting younger families to the area.

The town started as a 19th-century mining camp with its population peaking around the turn of the 20th century, and growing smaller and smaller ever since.

"What we've been faced with is dwindling population and dwindling school enrollment and it’s not something tourism fixes," said Jim Jenner, a filmmaker and area resident.

"We need to invite some families that would like to be here and could bring a job with them," Jenner added.

NBC Montana spoke with a local business owner who has seen success in Philipsburg. She explained her beliefs on how she’s been able grow her business locally.

"We get a chance to visit with people so it's not as busy or hectic as a much more populated area," said Shirley Beck, who owns the world renowned Sweet Palace candy store.

Project organizers also point to the schools as an advantage, saying that the under-populated classrooms allow for more one-on-one interaction between students and teachers.

Steve Immenschuh recently retired as the sheriff of Granite County. He tells NBC Montana that's why he decided to stick around town with his kids.

"Only because of the really low student-to-teacher ratio which is about ten-to-one," said Immenschuh.

Even though the campaign has just started, residents say they expect the campaign to be successful, especially after how they worked diligently turning the town in to a world class tourist destination.