Mayor Hibberd interviewed on BSU radio for community work

Blue Cross Foundation’s Courtney Frost and Tawsha Box of Reynolds and Myers, filled the Weiser City Council in on why Weiser stood out in the application process for an $85,000 grant it received. Photo by Sarah Imada
Philip A. Janquart
 Weiser Mayor Randy Hibberd was recently interviewed by Samantha Wright of Boise State University radio for his efforts to bring the community together in Weiser.
 Specifically, the City of Weiser recently received an $85,000 grant through the Blue Cross Foundation for Health.
 The foundation is separate from Blue Cross of Idaho and is a 501c3 with its own board and financing. It focuses on three areas, including community, healthcare, and education.
 The grant is only awarded to two communities per year, the foundation selecting Weiser as one of its 2024 recipients. Dayton, Idaho, population 495, was the other city to be awarded.
 During the roughly 15-minute, on-air interview, Wright asked foundation Program Officer Courtney Frost why the organization picked Weiser.
 “Weiser stood out because of the way the community, the municipality, and mayor describe wanting to make sure that we all saw each other as community members,” Frost said. “Weiser has a lot of newcomers and the mayor really wanted to make sure that people who have grown up and lived in Weiser their entire lives and newcomers all felt like they belonged in that community, and for that reason, we thought, ‘Man, this is a mission match.’”
 Hibberd said the funds are earmarked for parks because people don’t interact through the same channels as they used to.
 “It used to be that people had their social interactions through church, service groups, sports leagues, and volunteer groups, but you don’t see that much anymore,” Hibberd said. “What we are seeing taking place is more events going on in our parks. So, what we are going to do is enhance our parks, take advantage of the trend, so that they are better adapted to holding events and being a gathering place.”
 Frost and Tawsha Box from Reynolds and Myers, a strategic communication firm out of Boise, recently spoke during a June 10 city council meeting.
 During that meeting, Frost added that “One of the reasons why we thought that you all will be an incredible partner is the pride that comes from the application of how much your community, your mayor really believes in this community, of tying one another together to really view each other again as neighbors, not just the guy from down the street, so that very much stood out in your application. I just want to say big kudos to you all and your community and we really look forward to working with you.”
 Box said her role in the project is helping with communication and reaching as many community members as possible to decide how to move forward with collecting ideas. In addition, she said a part of what she does is show how strategic communication can be used for other projects.
 “[It’s about] what tools can we use as far as how we survey people within the community that’s different than what we’ve done up to this point,” she said. “How do we identify people who have not been spoken to … that we have not heard from. And we need to find those people. So, we go through that process together and then also train on how to use this past the community project time.”
 During the radio interview, Hibberd said the city plans to initiate communication with the public through surveys and other means to get ideas on how to utilize the $85,000 in Weiser’s parks.
 Efforts to bring people together started well before the grant, which is one reason it was awarded to Weiser.
 Weiser qualified to apply for the grant because Hibberd attended Blue Cross’ Community Health Academy in 2022, which gave participants $20,000 just for attending. The city received another $10,000 simply for being proactive, a total of $30,000 the city earmarked for a new playground structure in Memorial Park.
 A $250,000 Public Parks for Resiliency, Idaho Community Block Grant through the Idaho Department of Commerce has resulted in new sidewalks on the north  end of town.
 Hibberd told Wright that it all started with Weiser High School students.
 “We started meeting with the leadership of the high school students and talking about what they wanted to see in city governments and they came up with several ideas, including a walkway from the high school to where the football and baseball games are played at Memorial Park; there wasn’t a safe route to get there by foot,” he said.
 “Also, they were envisioning turning one of the parks into a kind of events center, an outdoor events center, and even came up with a drawing of what they wanted to see. So, some of those things we implemented. We got a grant to do most of the sidewalk, and we will be going out to try to get another grant to finish that up.”


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
FAX: (208) 549-1718

Connect with Us