It was announced last week that the Enterprise Hometown Improvement District will receive a $99,000 USDA Rural Development grant. It will go toward a feasibility study for an EHIG project centered on the rehabilitation and development of the historic Enterprise Mercantile and Milling (EM&M) building. It is currently home to several businesses as well as EHIG's offices.
According to EHIG executive director Wendy Hanson, she isn't free to talk about details until the grant "is signed on the dotted line" in Washington, D.C. in the next week or two, but confirmed the local hometown improvement group is included on the list of grant recipients for a total nationwide of over $6.8 million in rural development assistance grants and loans.
EHIG is the only Oregon recipient on the list of 41 businesses and organizations from 32 states as released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to receive funds in this round of grants and loans.
According to the USDA release, the grant is for "a comprehensive feasibility study and real estate appraisal to determine the economic, business and environmental feasibility of the purchase, rehabilitation and commercial development of the Enterprise Mercantile and Milling building."
One proposal of EHIG in the past has been to restore the building and take it back to its business heyday, offering the atmosphere and products of the 1920s and an attractive draw for visitors to the county.
The Bowlby stone EM&M building is located on the north side of Main St. across from the Wallowa County Courthouse, and fills most of the block between E. 1st St. and River Sts., up to but not including the Bookloft site.