Angela Brandt Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
Havre-born Tillie S. Patterson has received so much pleasure from living on the Hi-Line and in appreciation she has donated funds to scores of causes including youth groups and student scholarships. “I decided to give something back to the community that has been so good to me,” Patterson said this morning. Last week, she made another impressive gift of $10,000 to the planned Northern Montana Cultural & Visitor Center. Patterson said she prefers making donations where the money will stay close to her beloved home of north-central Montana. “I figured that if I was going to do anything for anyone, I should do it in Havre,” she said. Patterson said her reasoning is simple, she “just likes Havre.” The proposed facility would be built on a 3.2-acre site in the northwest corner of Great Northern Fairgrounds and serve as a hub for Hi-Line tours and attractions. The plans include offices for the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce office and the fair manager. It also could serve as the starting point for tours of the Wahkpa Chu’gn buffalo jump, Bear Paw Battlefield and Fort Assinniboine. Patterson, who heard about the project in the Havre Daily News, said she is especially excited about the Montana Actors’ Theatre space to be included in the center. Although she has not attended any MAT plays so far, Patterson said if and when the building is erected, she hopes to make it to her first performance. Patterson, a retired business woman who once coowned Patterson’s and Marguerite’s clothing stores, said She hopes the center will spark economic development in the Havre area. If a company is contemplating relocating to the Hi- Line, a facility with cultural aspects might be a deciding factor, she said. “It’s one of those things that are good for the city,” Patterson added. She also gave funds for Patterson Park, named after her late husband. The center, which would include interpretive elements on the history and culture of northcentral Montana, is expected to cost a total of about $2.8 million. Project organizers hope to have it completed as early as 2009. Bear Paw Development Corp. planning director Craig Erickson, who is a member of the center’s committee, said the group is overjoyed with the donation. “Obviously, we all are very appreciative of her generosity. Her gift is by far the largest so far,” Erickson said today. The project has received continued support from the community in its fundraisers like a dodgeball tournament held during Havre Festival Days and a gala night in May. “We hope that people will continue to feel this way about the project because we will need support in the future,” Erickson said. “This town is very generous and this has been shown again and again and again.” Patterson said she doesn’t need much to keep her property and her little black poodle, Dusty II, so she enjoys donating her funds to causes she believes in. The $10,000 will be used to in the construction of the building, Erickson said. The project’s committee has secured federal Community Transportation Enhancement Program funds for the planning of the proposed center. The Hill County Commission now needs to wait for the funding to be programed by the Montana Department of Transportation so it can let the project out to architects’ bids. At least three bids must be received for the project before one can be hired. The center’s planning committee will use the federal funding for preliminary engineering of the structure to determine what the facility will look like and the cost to build and then operate it to ensure the center is financially feasible. Great Fallsbased CTA Architects and Engineers Inc. estimates the cost of the early planning at $21,329, of which $18,467 could be covered by federal CTEP money. The remainder would come from a 13. 42 percent local match. Operations and maintenance costs will be the responsibility of the occupants of the center.