By Patrick Winderl and Jerome Tharaud/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
The Havre City Council has given preliminary approval to three of six proposed projects and the Hill County Commission approved two projects to receive the county's share of Community Transportation Enhancement Program grant money this year.
The City Council on Monday approved a project to fill in the coal chutes under the sidewalk on the west side of Fourth Avenue between Second and Third streets, council member Tom Farnham said. The project, which will require a new sidewalk, is estimated to cost $50,000.
Havre Mayor Bob Rice proposed the project after a local woman was injured when she fell through the sidewalk 8 feet into the chute on July 2. No other downtown sidewalks will be replaced in this project, Farnham said.
The second project approved was community member Charlie Grant's proposal to turn the narrow park in the 1100 block between First and Second streets - once known as Tourist Park - into a tourist information center, with signs about local attractions, a gazebo, picnic benches, parking and playground equipment. The project is estimated to cost between $10,000 and $20,000, Farnham said.
The third project approved by the council was a proposal made by park and recreation director Dave Wilson to landscape around the city water plant on the west end of town. The project, which Wilson said might include a sign, is estimated to cost $23,000.
Farnham said the council will decide for certain whether to fund the second or third project, or both, based on a more concrete cost estimate for Grant's proposal.
There is about $78,000 available to the city in CTEP funding for next year, Bear Paw Development Corp. planner Craig Erickson said.
The deadline to apply for CTEP money is July 31. The council will make its final decision before then. The state must approve the applications.
The two projects approved by the Hill County Commission today are replacing a sprinkler system in Kremlin City Park and constructing a sidewalk at the Hill County Fairgrounds.
CTEP grants are funded by federal gas taxes and distributed by the Montana Department of Transportation. The grant money can be used to enhance surface transportation or for beautification projects in high-traffic areas.
Ongoing CTEP projects include landscaping at the Havre Ice Dome and upgrades to Sixth Avenue Memorial Field. Past projects have included repairing the roof at the Heritage Center and a major sidewalk reconstruction on First Street.
Hill County had about $65,000 in CTEP funds available this year.
A total of five projects were proposed to the commission during the past month. The three projects that were not approved were: renovating a chapel at Kiwanis Campground in Beaver Creek Park, installing energy efficient windows on the second floor of the Heritage Center, and building a sidewalk from Second Street West south to Boulevard Avenue.
The chapel project was ineligible for CTEP funds because it cannot be seen from Montana Highway 234. The other two projects were too expensive for the county's limited CTEP funds, County Commission Chair Pat Conway said.
Erickson will be responsible for writing the grant applications to the MDT. Erickson serves as Hill County's CTEP administrator.
The cost of installing the new sprinkler system in Kremlin has been estimated at $20,000. Water froze in the old system and damaged it last winter, said project spokesman Butch Marshall. Marshall serves on Kremlin's park board and is also the park's caretaker.
An exact figure for the construction at the fairgrounds was not available this morning, though Commissioner Doug Kaercher said it was well within the county's CTEP budget.
Fairgrounds manager Tim Solomon could not be reached for comment.