By Michael Heins
Havre Firefighters presented a proposal to seek funds to install a handicap trail at Camp Kiwanis to the Hill County Commissioners.
Capt. Mike Anderson and Firefighter Al Forsman met with the commissioners to propose funding the handicap trail through the county's Community Transportation Enhancement Program (CTEP).
Currently, the county has approximately $84,000 in the CTEP fund.
Eligible projects include bicycle and pedestrian facilities such as sidewalks, bike racks and benches for public use.
Landscaping and scenic beautification projects, historic preservation, rehabilitation, and the operation of historic transportation sites and the acquisition of scenic easement and scenic historic sites are also eligible.
The firefighters' plan for the funding would be used to build a sidewalk that would connect to the existing ramp and a concrete pad. This sidewalk will allow access for the handicap kids at the camp between the cabins and other facilities.
The commissioners complimented the work done on the ramp last year.
"They have done great work," Commissioner Kathy Bessette said. "We will try and show it off at the MACo Convention."
The cost for the project will be about $25,000 but the county needs to match 13 percent of the CTEP funds, approximately $3,000.
"Where would we get the money," Commissioner Pat Conway asked. "It takes two to three years to get these kind of projects started."
This is a Hill County project but the Beaver Creek Park Foundation and the Havre firefighters have been active in this project.
Debbie Vandeberg, executive Director of Havre Chamber of Commerce, and Craig Erickson, with Bear Paw Development, also made a proposal for several projects for CTEP funding.
"Completing the sidewalk from the top of the hill to Kmart is the priority," Vandeberg said. "It would make a great walking path."
"It's a great project and should should go ahead with it," Erickson said. "At this point everything for the sidewalk is ready we only need to pour the cement."
First they will have to go through the application process before they can proceed.
The application for the CTEP funds is very specific. An application can be done today but it won't go through until July. Havre is in Region 3 and this is the time frame the state has set for the funding, Erickson said.
"We have to wait for the project to be approved and nothing can be done until the assessments go through such as the environmental assessment," Erickson said. "This could take up to 8 months. If you try and move ahead with the project you can loose the funding. We have to wait until we have the permission from Montana Department of Transportation (DOT). There seems to be no shortcut. You can't push these projects through.
"It's no ones fault. It's just the way the program is set up. Mike Davis, CTEP's coordinator, has been very helpful in getting the projects through."
Some of the other projects they proposed up for the CTEP funding were:
Set aside funds towards the First Street beautification project. The project is a goal of the Chamber of Commerce to develop a greenbelt from the junction of Highway 87 West, to the top of the hill on the east end of town.
The creation of a 3-mile pathway along the dike. Current estimates for a paved pathway is $252,000 and for gravel the cost will be $60,000. This project is being presented to the city; to consider the diversion dike southeast of town as phase 1. The people interested in seeing Havre have such a walking trail system are looking at phase 2; developing the dike on the north-side along the river into the walking system. This project will be considered next year. Vandeberg said she just wanted to get these projects presented.
"The Army Corporation of engineers was concerned about were erosion on the dike with a gravel pathway and increased usage," Commissioner Doug Kaercher said. "The dike was designed for 20 years and it is 40 years old."
The pathway has a lot of community support.
"It's a good project a lot of people are excited about it," Erickson said.