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Bear Paw reaches out to find brownfields


December 17, 2013

File photo

Short Stop on the corner of 17th Street and 5th Avenue in Havre, seen above in 2010, was one of the sites assessed for contamination through the brownfields program administered by Bear Paw Development Corp. Bear Paw now is looking for new sites that need assessment to list in its application to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a new round of brownfields grants.

Hi-Line residents who think their property is contaminated are being urged to step forward.

Paul Tuss, executive director of Bear Paw Development Corp., told Havre City Council Monday that Bear Paw is applying for two $200,000 grants that would pay for studies to determine if property is contaminated.

In applying for an earlier grant, Bear Paw told the stories of properties that were feared to be contaminated.

"Now we are looking for new stories," he said.

Prime candidates for contamination, he said, are properties that two or three generations ago may have been gas stations, dry cleaners or industrial properties.

Often, he said, people trying to sell their properties find that "banks are skeptical about providing finances to buildings that might be contaminated.

The brownfields program would send evaluators to the property and conduct tests to determine if the fears are substantiated.

Sometimes the fears of contamination are exaggerated, he said.

But if there is contamination, Bear Paw has a $1 million revolving fund program that provides low-interest loans to clean up the pollution.

Tuss said sizing up the degree of the problem on the Hi-Line would be helpful in securing the grants.

In other business at Monday night's City Council meeting, Public Works Director Dave Peterson noted that the meeting was the last for Councilmen Bob Kaftan and Jerry Veis.

The two did not seek re-election.

"It's been a pleasure working with you," he told the two.

Mayor Tim Solomon noted that the two are still in office until the January council meeting, when their successor will be sworn in.

"We will have a little something at that meeting," Solomon said.

"What, a pie in the face?" Veis quipped.


Reader Comments

moneymoney writes:

please pie them in the face and put it on utube. Thanks!


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