By Larry Kline/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
The fourth time's a charm. The city of Havre received three bids of $35,000 or more for the Heritage Center by Thursday's noon deadline. The Havre City Council will decide which bid to accept on Monday.
Last month, the council rejected a bid of $5,000 from Tom and Jamie Lambrecht and decided to accept bids on the building for a fourth time. The city has owned the building since 1996, when it used $89,600 from the Community Transportation Enhancement Program to purchase the former post office and federal courthouse from the U.S. Postal Service. The historic structure had been leased by the Clack Foundation until July 1, when the foundation said it could no longer afford to operate it.
City Council Finance Committee members agreed at a meeting Thursday night that the most viable bid was the one submitted by Todd Hanson and Erica McKeon-Hanson for $40,001.99. The Hansons submitted a six-page proposal along with their bid, outlining their plans for the Heritage Center.
The Hansons plan to use the Heritage Center to house an art gallery, retail store, restaurant and microbrew pub, and office space.
A bid of $35,000 was submitted by Stephanie Chia of Stanwood, Wash. She did not describe her plans for the building in her bid and could not be reached for comment today.
facility, though administrators have suggested changes that could be made to the campus to accommodate the facility and parking.
Saline seep at the fairgrounds is potential problem there. Saline seep is caused by rising groundwater that dissolves the salt in the rocks and minerals as it passes through. The water carries the salt to the surface, then evaporates, leaving behind a growing deposit of surface salt.
Saline seep can render cropland infertile, but at the fairgrounds the problem is that the soil is constantly moist and destructive to structures built on it, fair board member Alma Seidel said today. People and cars can also get temporarily stuck in the mud.
Seidel said she understood from her years on the fair board that the seep was exacerbated by the fact that surrounding areas, such as the roads and the Holiday Village Shopping Center, are covered by concrete. The groundwater has to surface somewhere, she said.
"That's a big concern because we've been fighting that for years," she said.
A pumping station has since helped with the problem, she said, expanding the amount of usable land.
The fair board suggested a possible location for the events center at the fairgrounds, fair manager Tim Solomon said today.
The board said the events center could sit on the area now occupied by the 4-H exhibit buildings and chuckwagon and extend south to the edge of the grounds. Parking would remain in its current location, he said.
Originally, the board had been hoping to retain those buildings, Seidel said, but that location would be sure to give the center adequate space.
Eliminating the chuckwagon raises the question of where to put another kitchen, Seidel said, because the proposed events center would only have a warming kitchen.
"One of the questions that came up is: Who's going to manage it?" she said. "And that hasn't been determined."
The next meeting of the chamber events center committee will be March 28 at 10 a.m. at U.S. Bank.