By Patrick Winderl/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
A group of Havreites is hoping that federal gas tax dollars will fuel a chapel renovation in Beaver Creek Park.
A spokesman for the group, Dave Anderson, asked the Hill County Commission on Wednesday to apply for a grant to restore a chapel building at the Kiwanis Campground.
During a public hearing, Anderson proposed that the commission apply for Community Transportation Enhancement Program money to fund the project, Craig Erickson of Bear Paw Development Corp. said today. Erickson is the CTEP administrator for Hill County.
The cost of the renovating the chapel, which is at least 70 years old, has not been determined, Erickson said.
The project was the only one proposed during Wednesday's public hearing, which was intended to give the public an opportunity to suggest potential CTEP projects to the the county commissioners. Those who did not attend the hearing but have projects in mind should contact the commissioners to schedule another public hearing, Erickson said.
CTEP funding is distributed by the Montana Department of Transportation. Hill County has $50,000 available for new CTEP projects, which must be approved by the state, Erickson said.
Erickson said that before an application can be submitted, it must first be determined that the project would be eligible for CTEP funding.
Eligibility is based on 12 main categories: pedestrian and bicycle facilities; pedestrian and bicycle safety and education programs; acquisition of scenic or historic easements or sites; scenic or historic highway programs including tourist and welcome centers; landscaping and other scenic beautification; historic preservation; rehabilitation and operation of historic transportation buildings, structures and facilities; conversion of abandoned railway corridors to trails; control and removing of outdoor advertising; archaeological planning and research; environmental mitigation of runoff pollution and preservation of wildlife; and establishment of transportation museums.
Projects must relate to surface transportation and be located on publicly controlled property.
Erickson pointed to two upcoming projects funded by TSEP. The first are the modifications under way at Sixth Avenue Memorial Field, where the so-called "pot lot" will be turned into a park. The second, a face-lift for the outside of the Havre Ice Dome, is slated to begin in July. The landscaping at the dome will be "very impressive," Erickson said.
"They're two very visible examples of what CTEP money can be used for," he said.
Before the county can proceed with an application for the chapel renovation, it must ensure that the project will meet the eligibility requirements, Erickson said.
"It looks like a good project," he said, "but the MDT looks at these things pretty closely."
The biggest factor will be if the chapel is visible from Montana Highway 234, commonly known as Beaver Creek Road, Erickson said.
"Unless you can see it from the roadway" the project will not be eligible, he added.
"People need to understand this is federal money," Erickson said. "It does get a little complex. A lot of federal regulations must be satisfied."
Dave Anderson, an appraiser, could not be reached for comment.
Applications for CTEP money must be submitted to the state by July 31.