Havre Daily News staff
The Hill County Park Board has teamed up with several organizations to make improvements at Beaver Creek Park. Park Superintendent Assistant BilliJo Doll said Monday she is writing grant applications for money to improve the restrooms in the park, which will include better protection for the water quality in Beaver Creek. “Most of the restrooms out there are 30- to 40-year-old outhouses, and even though most have vaults underneath, it’s possible that some (waste) could be leaking,” she said. “There’s a potential for the contamination of ground water.” Doll added that the potential contamination doesn’t affect only Beaver Creek and residents south of Havre. It could also affect the city. “It could affect the whole community since the municipal water intake is down-river from where Beaver Creek flows into the Milk River,” she said. “What we’ve done is prioritize. We’ve got 20 high-use areas like Rotary (Park), and 18 medium-priority campsites and campgrounds (to replace first),” Doll said. Doll said there is no contamination now. She cited assessments by the state Department of Environmental Quality showing that Beaver Creek is not polluted, but is a naturally flowing stream with all of the naturally occuring problems of a creek that is heavily used by people. It is suitable for bathing, swimming and recreation, she said. Doll said the sooner work is done to replace the outhouses, the less it will cost. “It’s really important we get these done because the cost of getting rid of the outhouses and putting in toilets goes up about $700 to $1,000 (every) year,” Doll said. “They cost over $10,000 each, with shipping and installation.” The total to replace 38 toilets in the project would be more than $477,000, she said. Doll said Scott Hayward put out a bid on the project far below the other bids. Hayward, who used to own Hayward Muffler in Havre before selling it to work at his family’s business, the concrete company Colorado Pre-cast, said the bid was his gift to the community, she added. “He’s giving one heck of a donation of in-kind services to Beaver Creek Park,” Doll said. A second phase of another project could add two restrooms in the park, Doll said. The Hill County Conservation District and the Beaver Creek Nature Trails Committee applied for a grant from the Montana of Fish, Wildlife & Parks to develop an old logging trail into a hiking trail, Doll said. Phase 2 will include that group, along with the park board and the Havre-Hill County Historic Preservation Commission, applying for grant funds to install two latrines nearby, she said. One of the grants Doll is applying for is from the state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, which offers both grant and loan funds. The grant is worth up to about $98,000, Doll said. A second application is to the state Department of Environmental Qual i ty, which administers U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funds for the grant, worth up to $190,000 for projects which prevent contamination of ground water. Doll said the project would still be short more than $60,000 Of the total needed. ”I’m still looking for other grants,” she said. Bear Paw Development Corp. is helping Doll write the grant applications and is researching other grant opportunities for the project, she said. Several organizations have already contributed and are continuing to contribute to the cause, Doll said, including the Montana Tavern Association planning to hold a Saturday in the Park fundraiser. Some of the money from that project is planned to be used for the toilets, she said, adding that other groups supporting the project include the Havre Police Protective Association, the Havre Jaycees, the Havre Fire Department, the Eagles, the Railroad Pagers and the local branch of the Lions Club International. The Hill County Park Foundation is also planning to contribute some of the proceeds from sales of T-shirts and sweatshirts, Doll said. She said the support for the project has been tremendous, adding that she has also received letters from state Sen. Ken Hanson of Harlem and Havre’s Rep. Bob Bergren, as well as phone calls from Rep. John Musgrove and federal water quality specialist Warren Kellog, who is stationed in Helena, and e-mails from the office of U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., in support of the community’s effort to upgrade the park facilities. The Hill County Park Board will meet Monday at 5:30 in the Hill County Commission’s office on the first floor of the Hill County Courthouse for its regular business agenda and will discuss public comment on the issues surrounding the installation of toilets and the clean-up. For more information, call 395-4565 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.