The chair of the Hill County Park Board applauded a group Monday for planning a new nonprofit group to support Beaver Creek Park.
The board at its Monday night meeting suggested a first project for Friends of Beaver Creek Park after its startup meeting tonight: Looking for funding for a new walking trail.
“I think it’s cool and exciting, and I suggest we all go and represent (the park at the organizational meeting), ” Park Board Chair Steve Mariani said to other members of the board during its monthly meeting.
Dana Pyette, assistant to Beaver Creek Park Superintendent Chad Edgar, said the first meeting of the group, being planned to provide support for the county park, is set for 7 p. m. today at the Havre High School auditorium.
“We are very excited about it, ” Pyette said. “We have a lot of interested people, and we think we can do a lot of great things for the park. ”
The meeting will be to elect a board of directors, write the private nonprofit group’s bylaws, and to start setting direction, she said. Once the board is elected and bylaws written, the group will apply to the U. S. Internal Revenue Service for nonprofit status.
She added that the group pushing to set up the nonprofit is hoping for a good turnout. Even if people don’t want to be members of the board or directly involved in the group, their thoughts and ideas will be welcome tonight, she said.
A discussion of another issue raised by the superintendent led to the suggestion for Friends of Beaver Creek Park to create a new walking trail
Edgar told the board he would like to see a trail developed to Rotary Falls, which he said is one of the most beautiful parts of the 10,000-acre park.
Pyette said she has been looking into potential grant funding for building such a trail, and that former superintendent’s assistant Lesley Zellmer, has offered to help write grant applications.
Board member Lou Lucke said he thinks developing new trails on the park would be an excellent idea.
“You have a 10,000-acre park and you don’t have enough trails. I thought that for a long time having a well-signed, accessible trail down to Rotary would be (wonderful) …, ” Lucke said. “When we have such a perfect spot to go to like Rotary Falls, let’s get with it. ”
Pyette said another project in the near future, once nonprofit status is granted to the Friends of Beaver Creek Park, will be to apply to the state Department of Transportation for a Beaver Creek Park specialty license plate on which the Park Board has been working. The deadline for that is March 31, she said.
Board member Mel Gomke, also chair of the Hill County Parks and Recreation Foundation, said the creation of the group will create two identical entities.
“What we’re going to have down the road, and maybe it’s all right, maybe it’s going to be OK, but were going to have duplication all the way through, ” Gomke said. “We’re going to have two boards. ”
Mariaini said that only will be true if the existing board is working to raise funds as the Friends of Beaver Creek Park intends to.
“All of the money is going to go back into a foundation, and we as a board have to decide which one …, ” he said. “If raising money is what a foundation should do, we’ll decide that when we have a choice. ”