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'Zoom town:' What does Butte's appeal to remote workers mean for city's economy?

Butte's Big Butte
Posted at 8:51 AM, May 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-04 10:56:18-04

BUTTE — The Today Show recently listed Butte as a popular town that remote workers are moving to, a home away from home.

With the influx of people moving to smaller towns in order to get away from city life, this could mean more people flowing into Butte.

"It's going to bring more better-paying positions to the community which again increases our population, brings younger people, people with families," Butte Conventions and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Maria Pochervina said.

Butte’s population peaked during the golden age of mining with a population of over 90,000. When the mining industry left, people left with it, decimating Butte’s population in 1970 to 32,000 before jumping up to 34,000 and hovering around that number ever since.

The possibility of more people moving to Butte could mean a bump in economy and tourism.

"It’s a great way for people to go ahead and get a lay of the land, so to speak, before they decide to maybe pull the trigger and either find permanent rentals or purchase some property here and locate permanently." said Pochervina.

Last year, Forbes released a similar list naming Butte a choice town for remote workers.

"It’s pretty exciting to see Butte kind of put on the national stage. Everyone that lives here knows what a great community this is, but to be able to see it shared outwardly like that is pretty fun." said Joe Willauer, Butte Local Development Corp. Executive Director.

But with opportunities for growth also come concerns.

"With population growth comes new things. We’ve seen it just down the highway in a couple of our neighboring cities and how do you grow while maintaining that character and maintaining that thing that keeps Butte unique," said Willauer.

With a new Uptown master plan preparing for growth in the community, the city is getting ready for an influx.

"I just don’t see where this remote working is gonna go ahead and go away. I think that this is just a future for us." said Pochervina.