By Ron VandenBoom
Money is available for historic preservation and the revitalization of Havre's business district if the community is willing to organize and work toward that goal, says the person heading up the effort.
Emily Mayor Lossing, a City Council member who volunteers as director of the Main Street Program in Havre, said the funds are out there, but in order to receive funding the community is going to have to have a plan.
Lossing will hold a Main Street Committee organizational meeting at 7 p.m. Monday in the City Council chambers to take the first step toward revitalizing Havre's business district.
"We need to go over the plan," she said. "We need to talk to businesses and we need to talk to building owners."
Lossing said anyone who cares about preserving downtown Havre or revitalizing Havre's economy should plan to attend.
The Main Street Program was formed in 1980 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
"It's been a very successful program and a lot of communities in the United States and Canada have adopted this principle into their downtown revitalization program," Lossing said.
Lossing said there are steps to the plan. The first is to form a committee and discuss the plan. Goals are then established and work started on achieving those ends.
"This is not a quick-fix solution," Lossing said. "We're not going to see results from this committee for many years."
Lewistown and Great Falls are two Montana communities that have been successful with the program and received grant money, she said.
Funding can be used for remodeling, repair of original structures, assisting business owners in meeting Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and other projects.
Lossing said no business owner can be forced to participate in the program and there are no fees to join.
Anyone wanting to be a part of the committee but cannot attend the meeting is invited to call Lossing at 265-6233.