By Tim Eberly
The Havre Area Chamber of Commerce has received its first grant for the construction of a town square park.
The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Foundation, a charitable subsidiary of the BNSF Railway, has donated $15,000 for the development of the park on the south side of the 300 block of First Street.
"Any contributions toward that is definitely beneficial to the community and also helps us proceed with our plans to have the park completed," said Terry Schend, a member of the Chamber's park committee.
Members of the park committee estimate the park's development will cost about $100,000. With the grant, the park committee is more than halfway to reaching that goal, having raised a total of $55,000. Most of it has come from Chamber fund-raisers and individual donations.
"We're hoping that others will see that there is participation in the project," Schend said. "There's a show of corporate support. Hopefully, other people will see that and want to make a contribution."
The Chamber is planning to use the BNSF grant money for the second phase of the project, which includes all of the park's landscaping installing the sprinkler system, laying sod and planting trees.
"We're glad to be a participant in the program," said Gus Melonas, spokesman for BNSF.
No work will be done on the park in the winter, but the Chamber wants the park to be completed by the next Festival Days, in September. A towering Christmas tree the tree and labor for planting it were donated became a permanent fixture in the park shortly after Thanksgiving.