New sign for Morning Star Co-op big hit in community

KALISPELL, Mont. — A new sign marks more than just the entrance of the Morning Star Community.

“It completes the community,” said Laurie Westendorf, President of the democratically elected Board of Directors for the resident-owned community.

Before the sign was installed, those looking to get to the co-op are taken to the community next door if they enter the address into the GPS. Since there isn’t any signage at the moment to let them know they are in the wrong place, it could be confusing. 

“We really needed it so people could find us,” she said.

With one sign already installed, a second one was set to be installed earlier this week. New speed limit and row number signs will also be put up. Residents were able to weigh in on the design.

These changes help to create a sense of belonging for Morning Star residents by dressing up the neighborhood. It shows pride of ownership and many have given positive feedback on the new sign, Westendorf said.

The $2,000 project was funded through a grant from NeighborWorks® Montana, the ROC USA affiliate for the state. Westendorf said she learned about the possibility of getting the grant while attending the Community Leadership Institute in Los Angeles, Calif. in 2017.

“It was the very first grant that we’ve received,” she said.

This was not the only one they’ve recently received though.

Morning Star was also awarded $1,500 from the Better Together Community Grant Program earlier this summer. This money was used to fix the asphalt around their mailboxes so water will drain away from the area. This will be safer for residents, particularly in the cold months when ice can build up and make it slick in that area.

The signs were created by Signs Now, a local company in Kalispell. Westendorf said the team there did an amazing job and was incredibly helpful throughout the process.