By HDN staff
A lot of objections have been expressed lately over a plan by District IV HRDC to relocate five homes donated by Premium Pork of Montana (PPM) from the old Havre Air Force Station into an area in the southwest section of Highland Park.
The primary concern so far seems to be that the homes will lower property values in the area and be an eye-sore because they are older military homes that were not constructed to the same high standards as homes currently in the area.
Of secondary concern is the timetable HRDC proposed for placement of the homes. The argument being there is not enough time to complete the necessary work on sewers and foundations prior to the date the homes are to be moved.
A third concern expressed is that the McLaughlin Transitional Housing Program will not really work because those using the homes will only be temporary residents who, after only a brief period of time, will be uprooted again and replaced by new residents.
It is the considered opinion of The Havre Daily News that this is a whole lot of screaming over a very little mouse.
Anyone who has lived in Havre for any length of time knows most of the homes in Highland Park were constructed in the 1950s and 1960s and are themselves 30, 40, and even 50 years old.
Over the years, Highland Park has also seen the building of low income housing on the west end of 11th Street and the construction of numerous apartments and apartment complexes that are scattered from 13th Street to various locations throughout the area.
The homes being moved from the old air base were for officers families and built after 1970, making them newer than many of the homes in Highland Park today. While typical of government construction of the period, they are far from eye-sores.
While the timetable for moving the homes may be tight, we believe this is a problem between contractors, PPM and HRDC. It has nothing to do with the interests of the homeowners.
As for the Mclaughlin Programs effectiveness, we feel it is premature to judge the program before it even starts and argument against the program are based on emotion not fact.
The Havre Daily News feels more than enough safeguards have been built into the program to insure the homes and the people residing in them will not be a blight on the neighborhood or the community. Neighbors fearing the program have made a mountain out of a molehill.
Three issues do concern us, however. First, what will happen to the homes in the event government cuts cause the McLaughlin Program to lose funding. Second, why was so little notification given to neighbors about a public meeting. Third, why after numerous requests by The Havre Daily News to HRDC to please keep us informed about the movement of the air base homes into Havre, did we only learn about the meeting and the McLaughlin Program after receiving a phone call from a concerned neighbor?