By Tim Leeds
Anthony J. Preite returned to Havre Saturday with a boost for the city's new water main project.
Preite, a Havre native and now regional director of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Agency in Denver, met with community leaders to present a check for $770,000. The award is for the city's project to build a 16-inch water main down Second Street, replacing the current main down First Street, which has repeatedly broken in the last 15 years.
Mayor Phyllis Leonard said that along with Treasure State Endowment Project funds the city has received and existing water reserve funds, there are now enough funds to go ahead with the project.
Preite said he wanted to commend everyone involved in planning the project and funding it. He said the cooperation between city and county government and BPDC makes projects possible in the area that could not occur otherwise.
Preite said that too often, people don't know what it takes in planning and cooperation to make projects like this happen. He said if the city had used bond funding for the project, it would probably have cost the city more than $3 million, instead of about $450,000 in city funds that it will cost.
He said work such as this are crucial to the community. He said if the infrastructure is not there or not sufficient, the region can't grow and the residents also suffer.
Preite said Havre is currently one of the best communities in the state for looking ahead and planning for its future infrastructure needs. He thanked everyone at the ceremony, including the mayor; Rep. Antoinette (Toni) Hagener, D-Havre; City Council President Helen Hill; council members Rick Pierson, Gary Schubert, Doug Larson, Tom Farnham, Jack Brandon; David Peterson of the public works department; Jeff Jensen of the water treatment plant, and Craig Erickson of BPDC.
Preite also commended BPDC for its work in improving the community. He said the development center is one of the most effective in the region his office covers. He said of the 400 or so development centers his department serves, BPDC is in the 99th percentile.
Leonard thanked Preite for all he has done for the Havre area, and the city council for its efforts in the project. She said the council always works to stay ahead of and repair problems, putting the needs of Havre above their own political aspirations. She said that attitude in the past could have prevented Havre's infrastructure from needing so much repair now.
Hill thanked Leonard for the leadership she has provided in bringing the project to where it is now.
The city plans to open the project to bid in mid-July.