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Havre CTEP projects making progress


After getting approval from the state, Havre City Council is now waiting on approval from the state before moving ahead with Community Transportation Enhancement Program projects.

At their meeting April 18, council had received project specific agreements on two of the three projects from the Montana Department of Transportation that needed to be signed off by the council.

Approved unanimously, the agreements from MDT now go back to Helena for additional signings of approval from other state departments, according to Krystal Steinmetz, who has been working with the city on the projects for Bear Paw Development Corp.

The agreements already received are for projects to redo the sidewalks outside of Lincoln-McKinley Primary School and to build a better drainage system outside of the North Central Senior Citizens Center.

The third, and most expensive, project applied for was for the construction of new sidewalks around the Atrium Mall and Aarons Sales and Lease.

The last project agreement was not on the agenda of City Council's April 18 meeting, which caught the attention of some of the council, especially after two members, Allen "Woody" Woodwick and Andrew Brekke, voted against the project.

Brekke said he wasn't really comfortable spending public money on private property.

"I don't think it's fair to other businesses or residential taxpayers, " Brekke said. "There are sidewalks that are in much worse condition.

"I understand that we have a large pot of CTEP funding, but there may be a larger project down the road. I just object to this need to spend it. "

According to Steinmetz, the project is not considered an improvement on private property, because the sidewalks are on the public right-of-way.

"Sidewalks are really what CTEP is intended to do, " Steinmetz said.

She explained that the Atrium project agreement's absence from the agenda was no sign of trouble as some council members suspected. It just has a different approval process.

According to Steinmetz, the Atrium's location, closer to main thoroughfares, makes the project "on system" for the Department of Transportation. So the project has a few more hoops to jump through.

That agreement is expected to be presented to the council in the next few months.

It should also take a few months for the final state approval to come back. Then the city can begin the process of seeking a consultant to start drawing up the necessary designs.

Steinmetz said the city is probably looking at a summer 2012 start date for project construction.


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