Havre Daily News
The process to submit plans for the long-awaited 18-hole Havre Golf and Country Club east of town will take at least a year, an investor working on the project said Monday.
Jim Guerci of Seattle said in a telephone interview that he and another Seattle investor met with Havre officials, bankers, Realtors and economic development representatives during a visit to Havre last week.
The investors are not in a hurry, he said.
“To tell you that everything's going to be happening in the next six months is not a true statement,” Guerci said. “It's going to take a little while.”
Guerci said he has been involved in the project for about a year.
The project to bring the country club and housing development to a site east of Havre was first discussed a decade ago. The idea fizzled after financial problems arose, and little was heard about the project for years until bulldozers last year began moving earth at the site.
Guerci said he is looking for investors to help fund the project. He hasn't heard from anyone locally, but said he'd be interested in talking with people in Havre about the project.
He said he understands that “they got kind of burned up last time.”
Guerci said Quantum Five LLC wants to bring credibility to the project.
“There's been promises made and broken, and we're not going to do that,” Guerci said.
He said one-time Havre resident Ted Morris will continue to be a part of the project, but not on a decision-making level. He said Morris is being phased out of the project because of health and financial issues.
Morris did not return several calls for comment last week.
Jay Springer of Milk River Engineering, who worked on the project a decade ago and is working with the new investors, said today the project is moving forward slowly, and with good reason. All of the applications to the state, county and city will have to be resubmitted, and many things have changed since the original applications were approved.
“These guys are truly serious about doing this the right way,” Springer said. “They're not in a hurry. They want to make sure everything's right.”
He said the group is still looking to build homes on about 180 lots, and the process to get approval for a project that size will take some time. The state Department of Environmental Quality is not going to “rubber-stamp” a development of that size, Springer said.
In the mid-1990s, the original Quantum Group went through the process of submitting applications to the DEQ and convincing the Havre City Council to annex the land - about 250 acres. The City Council also approved a preliminary plat to subdivide the land.
The project then disappeared.
Quantum tried and failed to find a public entity to issue tax-free municipal bonds on its behalf.
In 1999, the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon filed a foreclosure suit against Quantum for default of a $900,000 loan.
State District Judge John Warner ruled in favor of the tribes in 2002, ordering Quantum to pay more than $685,000 or have the property sold at a sheriff's auction.
Guerci met with Havre Mayor Bob Rice and city public works director Dave Peterson last week to discuss the project. They reviewed the old plans and discussed water and access.
Peterson said the city will make decisions on water use and other issues once officials see a formal application from the group. The city holds reserved water rights on the aquifer beneath the property.
“Until we get some more information from them, we can't really say one way or the other what's going to happen out there,” Peterson said.
Hill County planner Clay Vincent last week he hasn't heard “hide nor hair” from the investors.
“Nothing. Zip,” he said. “Literally they have to start over from zero. Nothing they have, except for historical data, is something that they can count on.”
Vincent said he's heard from people near the property who have complained of dust from all of the dirt that has been moved around on the property.
“They've gone in and moved all of the dirt around, and with the wind we've had it's been a nightmare for people,” he said.