Powering community connections

Driving through downtown Grangeville, Idaho, you may notice a change. Gone is the community reader board with its announcements placed by hand, letter by letter. The aging reader board has been replaced with an electronic message board, one of three in Avista’s service territory that were installed by the utility in 2020.

Two more are planned for 2021, thanks to funding from the Avista Foundation.

The two-sided electronic message boards were installed in Grangeville and Orofino in 2020, and in Nezperce, two single-sided boards were erected as well. Additionally, Avista is planning to install electronic message boards in Rockford and Clarkston this year.

The 41-foot tall, 8-foot-wide screens provide full color, a nearly infinite array of shade display capability, and can play prerecorded video clips, animated text and graphics.

“These truly are community reader boards,” said Mike Tatko, Regional Business Manager for the Lewis-Clark region. “They’re not just for school sporting events or for the time and temperature. They’re meant for everyone in the community to broadcast messages that inform others of happenings in the community. And since they are up in three county seats -- Grangeville, Nezperce and Orofino -- we’re hopeful that appropriate county-wide messages will be broadcast so that residents and visitors to the cities will benefit, as well.”

Tatko noted the electronic message board idea came from Avista’s Grangeville Local Representative Eric Robie.

“I’m thankful that Eric is such a great community supporter and that his idea has come to fruition,” he said.

The electronic message boards also reflect changing times.

“Increasingly, transportation departments throughout our service territory are discouraging the unsafe practice of hanging banners across streets, highways and other roads,” Tatko explained. “The electronic message boards will replace banners that announce community events. The best part about the message boards is that countless events and notices can cycle through continuously. No longer will those responsible for the reader boards have to wait until one event is over to take down the letters and put up a new event.”

Funding for electronic message boards was provided by the Avista Foundation. All of Avista’s philanthropy is paid for by its shareholders, none of it is funded by customers through rates.

“We’re grateful for the hard work and collaboration of our communities over the years as we’ve worked side by side to make our communities what they are today,” Tatko said. “We’re pleased to build on our legacy of community stewardship with this contribution that will serve to elevate the great work already being done, and expand the possibilities for what we can accomplish together into the future.”

In 2020, Avista awarded more than $4.1 million in philanthropic giving across our five-state service territory. Grant applications for Health and Human Services proposals will be accepted January 1 – February 1, 2021. Visit Avista Foundation for more information.

Those interested in having a message broadcast about an upcoming event in Grangeville, Nezperce or Orofino can send an e-mail to gvilleboard@gmail.com for the Grangeville board, stiegs@nezpercesd.us for the Nezperce boards and director@orofino.com for the Orofino board.

Learn more about Avista Foundation.

Avista Foundation


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