By HDN staff
In 1971 the city of Havre unveiled a comprehensive plan for long-range planning. Since then, however, the citys infrastructure has deteriorated to a state some now call an emergency.
The water treatment plant, unable to meet current demands and environmental standards, will require an overhaul of nearly $6 million. The First Street water main has suffered 18 major breaks, disrupting water service and threatening the livelihood of downtown businesses. Though it has been patched, it has yet to be replaced. Likewise, traffic volumes have more than doubled since 1971, but city roads havent grown to accommodate the increase. It all paints a grim picture, one that will now be expensive to remedy.
Undoubtedly, the city has suffered economic setbacks, especially those in the 1980s and early 90s. Approximately 400 railroad jobs were slashed, nearly 151 Burlington Northern diesel shop employees were transferred, and the general lagging in the local farm economy cant be overlooked.
Nevertheless, procrastination is a bad habit, especially when it comes to city maintenance. But whatever may be harbored in past history, the city has begun the slow and tedious process of rebuilding. The economy is steady and now, 24 years later, a new long-range plan is being developed. Town meetings have been called, experts have testified, funding has been sought, and corrections have been made.
The long-range planning committee, combined with local government, has compiled a strategic plan to guide and correct city growth through 2010. Its a good step in a better direction, and we hope efforts will be made, continually, to updated plans, to share ideas, and to stay on top of change, good or bad, by guiding Havre through a state of rebirth.
The long-range planning board is out to design a vision for the city, and they ask; Havre should be known as what? The ideas have been many and the vision is broad. But we hope, whatever that vision may be, that it stays on top of change, that it stays one step ahead and that this this big step forward will be a keystone for the future. Just do it. Theres no doubt that well be proud of the efforts.