By Tim Leeds/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
A study about whether Havre should build a special events center is almost over its last hurdle.
The committee handling the project narrowed the field of consultants who would write the study from six to two Monday, and will interview the final two on Dec. 17, Bear Paw Development Corp. executive director Paul Tuss said today.
"I'm really hopeful that we can make a decision on the 17th, execute an agreement with the successful firm and have them go to work immediately," he said.
He added that he hopes the study could be completed in six months.
The study will be on the possibility of building a Havre center on the model of Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls or the Metra in Billings that could be used to host athletic tournaments, conferences, and concerts and other cultural activities.
Tuss said the companies the committee will interview are top-notch. One is the architectural and engineering firm L'Heureux Page Warner of Great Falls, which has teamed up with Paradigm Consulting of Buffalo, N.Y., and Thomas, Dean and Hoskins of Great Falls in its application.
The other applicant is Conventions, Sports and Leisure International of Minneapolis, which is teaming up with the Montana company CTA Architects and Engineers on the project.
The local project committee consists of representatives of the city and county governments, Havre Public Schools, Montana State University-Northern, the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce and Bear Paw Development.
The feasibility study will suggest the most appropriate location for a center and the kinds of events it could host, Tuss said.
If the study shows that building a center is workable, the next step would be designing it and finding funding for construction, Tuss said.
The project would probably require some kind of public funding, possibly through the sale of bonds, he said. There probably would not be enough grants and assistance to pay for it all, Tuss added.
But the first step is conducting the study and finding out what, if any, center is appropriate, he said.
"That's really the huge speed bump we have to get over before we talk about funding," Tuss said.