Housing tops county priority list
The infrastructure director of Bear Paw Development Corp. reviewed Monday with the Hill County commissioners ideas raised at recent public meetings to help set priorities on projects the county should focus on.
Annmarie Robinson of Bear Paw said a top priority should be looking at applying for grants to help work on the Eagles Manor Retirement Home because initial planning is nearly complete for that project.
Other top priorities could be talking about work on the Senior Citizens Center in Rudyard, helping coordinate sidewalk and sewer projects in Hingham, working on the Great Northern Fairgrounds and looking at expanding water systems in northern Hill County, Robinson said.
The commissioners hosted public meetings in Rudyard May 25 and Havre last Wednesday to collect ideas from county residents about projects the residents would like to see the local government work on.
Robinson said one of the top projects could be plans to repair and renovate the 28-year-old Eagles Manor.
Walt Ball, administrator of the retirement home, said at the Havre meeting that a preliminary study of work to be done will be completed this month.
Robinson said that Hill County would be a good mechanism to apply for Community Development Block Grant funds to help pay for that project. She said the first step would be holding a public meeting to collect comment on the idea.
That grant source also could be a source of funds for proposed repairs and renovations to the Senior Citizens Center in Rudyard, Robinson said. She said the first step in looking into that project would be meeting with Hill County Council on Aging Director Evelyn Havskjold to collect her ideas on the project.
Robinson said that on many projects, the county could act as a facilitator. One example was on an idea raised at the Havre meeting about hooking more people in to the water being provided to the North Havre Rural Water District.
The North Central Montana Regional Water Authority, which is helping develop the regional water system using water from Tiber Reservoir south of Chester to supply water to people on Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation and across north-central Montana, built a line to supply the rural water district. It now is buying water from the Havre water treatment plant, which the authority pumps to the North Havre Rural Water District and resells to the members of that district.
A county resident attending the Havre meeting said some north Hill County residents who are not members of the water district are interested in also hooking into that water supply.
Robinson said that, in that project as well as others, the county government could help bring the parties together to discuss options, in that case, the rural residents and the regional water authority.
Some other ideas discussed at Monday's meeting included finding funds for work at the county fairgrounds, work to repair and renovate the publicly used meeting room at the District IV Human Resources and Development Council office building, a proposal to build a bicycle rest stop at Rudyard, and finding funds to stabilize, repair and upgrade the main hanger at the Havre City-County Airport.