By Jerome Tharaud/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
The Havre City Council on Monday approved funding for the first step toward replacing the Heritage Center roof.
The council unanimously voted to spend about $9,800 in CTEP funds for an engineering report on the leaky roof. The report will done by Milk River Engineering Inc. of Havre.
"I'm confident in their ability to execute this agreement to our full satisfaction," Bear Paw Development Corp. planner Craig Erickson told the council before the vote.
The engineering report is the first stage of the project, which has been in the works for more than two years. The entire roof replacement is expected to cost about $72,000. The $9,800 approved Monday night will take the project through the preliminary design stage and also cover construction oversight through the end of the project, Erickson said.
CTEP funding comes from the Community Transportation Enhancement Program, a federal program administered by the state Department of Transportation program that give cities and counties grants for various public projects. Every project that uses CTEP funding requires a 13.42 percent local match.
Erickson said the Heritage Center has come up with the $1,200 local match.
"I've been assured by the folks at the Heritage Center that there's money for this project," Erickson told the council. "It is ready to execute this evening."
Clack Foundation vice president Elaine Morse said this morning that the foundation has raised the match for the entire project, a little more than $10,000 if a metal roof is used. The metal roof would be slightly more expensive than the alternative, she said.
"If it's approved, that's good news," Morse said. "It needs to be fixed, and the sooner the better."
Morse has expressed hopes that the roof project will be completed this year.
Concerns again resurfaced regarding the city's maintenance obligations for the Heritage Center once the project is completed using CTEP funding.
Erickson said the Department of Transportation used to require a three-year maintenance obligation, but that now the city's obligations are subject to negotiation with the Department of Transportation.
"In this case, I really don't know how much of an issue that would be," Erickson said.
The city has owned the building since 1996, when it was purchased from the U.S. Postal Service for $150,000. The same year the Clack Foundation became responsible for the lease. The foundation's five-year lease ran out in August 2001, but under its current "tenancy-at-will" agreement with the city, the foundation can continue to use the building until the city asks it to leave. The Clack Foundation has continued to pay to keep the building running.