A large crowd filled Buffalo Court late Thursday morning, and the verdict was good.
More than 100 people came to celebrate the opening of the new housing development for Havre’s low-income senior citizens.
The event began at 11 a. m., though early arrivals were given tours of the empty homes. A few had been furnished by Barkus Home Center, to provide an idea of how it could look.
The one or two-bedroom units come with a garage, a living space and kitchen area divided by a counter and a bathroom with shower seating to accommodate the eventual clientele.
Karen Thomas, director of District 4 Human Resources Development Council that will run the housing, spoke prior to the official ribbon-cutting about all the gratitude she has for the many people who have helped make the $5 million, three-year project possible, including the HRDC board of directors and staff, the investor and development groups that funded it, the architects and contractors that built it and local government officials on hand, like Mayor Tim Solomon and Hill County commissioners Jeff Lavoi and Kathy Bessette.
Havre Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Debbie Vandeberg and the Chamber ambassadors provided the ribbon and oversized scissors that officially opened the facility.
Thomas said she had gotten a lot of guff from some locals about the buildings’ bright colors that make Buffalo Court jump out from the surrounding expanses of tan and brown, but Montana State University-Northern Chancellor and architecture enthusiast Jim Limbaugh said they are just what Havre needs.
“I think the colors add such a spice of excitement to the landscape, ” Limaugh said. “It’s a statement of exuberance and excitement. It’s enthusiastic. ”
“The colors will keep them young, ” Trish Limbaugh, the chancellor’s wife who has been working on the college’s campus color coordination this summer, said.
Other questions about the project, like why two forks of road don’t connect into one loop or there isn’t too much grass up there yet, were matters of funding, Thomas said, adding that they would be dealt with eventually.
There are 20 units on the property, but Thomas said they had already received about 40 applications.
The candidates still have to be vetted, which involves a lot of paperwork proving income and benefits. Even taking into account the waiting for and filling out of forms, Thomas is confident that the court will be filled within two months.