Angela Brandt and Larry Kline Havre Daily News
Just as with the wagon trains of the past, the future seems to be moving to the west. Only this time, it’s just a short jaunt to west of Havre. Tonight, the booming site in Hill County will be home of the opening of a new motel, AmericInn. “We thought it would be a good project for the west side of Havre and Havre. It think it’s going to be a good representation of optimism in the Havre area,” AmericInn coowner Dave Clausen said. Tom Patrick partnered with Clausen on the project. Clausen said travelers from the west will be impressed with the new facility. The 52-unit motel will include a pool, hot tub and enclosed patio; an exercise room with a weight machine, treadmill and elliptical cross trainer; an open, two-story lobby complete with fireplace; six suites that include various options, such as Jacuzzi tubs, fireplaces, double rooms, sofa beds, and king- and queen-sized beds; and room for expansion. “We upgraded things along the way,” Clausen said. The AmericInn also will be the first in the company’s chain of about 200 franchises to include a breakfast area that can double as a conference room. The facility will employ about 14 staffers in both full- and part-time positions. It will be non-smoking and will allow pets. The two-story, L-shaped structure sits between U.S. Highway 2 and Second Street West. It will have parking space for 67 cars and 16 larger vehicles. Clausen said the motel has been about five years in the making. A feasibility study on the project was done four years ago. “We had the good site ... Things looked optimistic at that point but probably more optimistic than we were,” he said.
Clausen said the city has been buzzing with development over the last few years and he considers the completion of the motel a “good, positive statement for Havre.” The Havre Area Chamber of Commerce executive director agreed. “I think it’s exciting,” Debbie Vandeberg said today. Both the AmericInn and a hotel property being developed by Bill Dritshulas increase Havre’s chances of securing meetings and conferences and more visitors in town serve as a spark for other businesses here, Vandeberg said. The project is just one more example of the recent stir in Havre’s economy, she said. “It shows people believe in our community, and we’re just looking forward to all of the positive things and the payback we’ll get from it.” Chamber president Tom Rygg said a feasibility study done several years ago for the proposed events center project at the Great Northern Fairgrounds had included some concerns about the amount of lodging in Havre. The AmericInn and Dritshulas’ project work to address that problem, he said. “It just really fits with the plan that a whole bunch of us in this town would like to see happen,” Rygg said. “I think it’s great.” The committee working on anEvents center, which would host sporting events, and trade and agriculture shows, is still working on soliciting funds from foundations and other sponsors before it asks for county dollars through a bond issue for the about $20 million project. So far, the special events center committee has raised about $20,000 from local contributions, which acted as a match to the same amount in state money. Clausen said the motel is already busy and has booked a lot of reservations. “Things are lined up to be pretty hectic the middle of next week,” he said. Reservations can be made by calling 395-5000. Clausen said an official grand opening will be held in about two months.