By Larry Kline/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
The Havre Community Skateboard Park got a $20,000 boost this week when the Havre City Council decided to allocate money from a land sale to cover a portion of the project's cost.
A member of the Havre Skateboarding Association also questioned the whereabouts of money that was sent to a company for equipment.
The council's decision on Tuesday was not unanimous. Council members Pam Hillery and Emily Mayer Lossing voted against the measure, citing a need for more accountability.
"I think we need to have a breakdown of how much money came in, how much was spent, and how much we still owe," Hillery said.
"I was under the impression that the city of Havre would not be paying for it," Mayer Lossing said in an interview Wednesday. "It should be up to the Skateboarding Association to come up with the money for it."
She also said skateboarders are still frequenting the downtown area instead of utilizing the park, which was completed in November.
The park was originally estimated to cost $80,000, but the total cost ended up being around $92,000, according to city finance director Lowell Swenson. The city was $35,000 short of that total before it elected to use $20,000 from the land sale. Last month, the city sold a 1.5-acre lot in Highland Park to Richard Svedahlin.
Mayor Bob Rice said in a Feb. 1 interview that the remaining funds would be covered by money the city is saving by not immediately hiring a replacement for Dave Wilson, the parks and recreation director who retired at the end of last year. A new full-time director will not be hired until sometime in March, he said. Chris Inman, who runs the city pool, has been serving as an interim director.
Havre resident Charlie Grant, who is treasurer of the Havre Skateboarding Association, brought up other monetary concerns at Tuesday's meeting. He demanded to know what happened to the $15,700 that was sent to Rec Ramps, a Canadian company that was supposed to supply equipment for the park. The company went out of business and never delivered the equipment.
Swenson said Wednesday that the city later got $2,400 back, but did not know the status of the remaining $13,300.
Rice was not available for comment.
Swenson said the city contracted with another Canadian company, Deja Ventures, and spent about $20,000 for its equipment.
The money spent has been a combination of city and donated money.
Mayer Lossing said she thinks the city should have found an American firm to do the job.
"We've got American companies that can do the same job," she said. "I don't have anything against Canadian companies, but I am for American companies. This company went bankrupt. I don't know what happened to the money and no one seems to want to answer for it."