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More money may be needed for fort project

 


decides it can raise the extra funds for the new match, it will fall to the Havre City Council to decide whether to allocate additional CTEP funding for the project.

"We'll have to have some discussion whether the city would be willing to allocate additional funding to the project," Erickson said.

Havre Mayor Bob Rice said today the project will probably not be on the agenda at the City Council meeting on Monday.

"I haven't discussed it much, so I probably won't put it on until the next one," Rice said.

If the council approves the extra $40,000 in CTEP funding to pay for the bid, it will come out of the $138,000 in unused CTEP funds available to the city based on 2003 allocations, Erickson said.

Other projects being funded with CTEP money include replacing the Heritage Center roof, which is estimated to cost about $75,000, and landscaping for the Havre Ice Dome, which will cost about $164,000, he said.

Most of the money for those projects has already been approved by the city, and will not come out of the city's unused CTEP funds, city public works director Dave Peterson said.

"That money was allocated, and now they just have to come back and ask for more if the projects run over," Peterson said today.

The cost of the Heritage Center roof project, for example, has increased beyond the original estimate, Peterson said, and the council will have to decide whether to approve additional funding.

That project is on the agenda for Monday.

Peterson said that most project bids come within 10 or 15 percent of the engineer's estimates, but that the Fort Assinniboine project is unique because of uncertainties associated with the post traders building.

"You're not going to have many people bid for it for one, and they don't know what they're going to get once they get out there," he said.

The original Fort Assinniboine project, which was begun in 1996, included a variety of repairs to other buildings around the fort, but was scaled back to just the post traders building in 2000 because of financial constraints.

"This is clearly the most structurally challenged of the buildings out there," Erickson said Tuesday before the bid was opened.

"It's in pretty tough shape," Erickson said. One wall of the brick building is currently being propped up by two-by-fours, which he said is not too surprising given the age of the building.

"It's nowhere near a complete restoration, but the work will preserve the building so when more funding is available a complete restoration is possible," Erickson said.

Plans to preserve a Fort Assinniboine building face a new challenge after a bid to stabilize its foundation was more than twice the city's original construction estimate.

The proposed project would help save the 120-year-old post traders building at Fort Assinniboine.

The bid of $94,327 by Boland Well Systems Inc. of Great Falls would require nearly $50,000 more than the amount of CTEP money the city has budgeted for the project.

The city has budgeted $33,333 for the project. With a local match from the Fort Assinniboine Preservation Association, the project was originally expected to cost about $38,500.

"There is a significant difference between what the current budget is and the current proposal," said Craig Erickson, Bear Paw Development Corp. planner.

"There's some big, big questions that need to be answered," he said on Tuesday, because the bid is "over double the cost" anticipated by the city.

The project engineer's estimate, calculated after the city's original estimate, is about $65,000.

The fort association must come up with the 13.42 percent local match to the CTEP funds for the project. If Tuesday's bid is accepted, the association will need to raise a local match of about $12,500, which is about $7,500 more than the anticipated match of $5,166.

"The local match has been a challenge for the fort association to come up with, and it always is," Erickson said.

Association chair Gary Wilson said today it's not conclusive that more money will be needed.

"Really, there's nothing definitive at the moment," Wilson said. "It would have been helpful if there had been more bids."

Wilson said that since they have nothing to compare the bid with, the project's architect will have to decide if the bid is accurate. "He has to look at that bid and say, 'Yeah, that's more realistic than what we were looking at,'" Wilson said.

If the architect confirms that the bid has been done properly and the association

 

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