Musselshell River, near Harlowton

Harlowton, the county seat of Wheatland County, is surrounded by the Crazy, Little Belt and Big Snowy Mountain ranges and sits along the Musselshell River. The city was once the eastern station of electric operations for the “Pacific Extension” of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad. Visitors can check out the Upper Musselshell Museum to learn more about Harlowton’s rich railroad history. While in Harlowton, you can enjoy a microbrew at Gally’s Brewing Co, or take a drive to Judith Gap Energy Center– Montana’s largest wind farm. Harlowton continues to rely on its agricultural industry for economic prosperity, but is seeing growth in tourism and outdoor recreation and is embracing an emerging industry.

In December 2018, Lt. Governor Cooney and Main Street Montana-Rural Partners Chair, Lance Trebesch (CEO + Eventgroove), along with Sean Becker (Business Assistance Bureau Chief, Office of Tourism and Business Development, Montana Department of Commerce) and Elisa Fiaschetti (Rural Community Development Manager, Governor’s Office of Economic Development) met with stakeholders from Harlowton to discuss the community’s accomplishments and successes, as well as their challenges and roadblocks., and see how the state could assist.

Rural Partners Highlights

During the Rural Partners visit to Harlowton, we discussed priorities, and the challenges and opportunities to reaching these priorities were identified and discussed. These included:

  • Infrastructure- water and sewer
  • HWY 12 MDT project
  • Montana National Guard Armory
  • Opportunity Zones
  • Housing
  • Workforce
  • Abandoned buildings and blight

As a follow-up to the December visit, Rural Partners has continued to work with Harlowton to identify additional challenges and opportunities, make appropriate connections, provide resources, and identify potential next steps. Rural Partners is working with the community to stay connected with the Department of Transportation on the HWY 12 project, as well as the Dept. of Military Affairs regarding the future of the National Guard Armory. As more information comes out about Opportunity Zones, Rural Partners will work with Harlowton to ensure they are prepared to take advantage of the opportunity.