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Port authority begins site plan effort

| May 21, 2004 12:00 AM

By Brent Shrum, Western News Reporter

A Bozeman firm has been selected by the Lincoln County Port Authority to develop a site plan for the development of the former Stimson property.

CTA Architects and Engineers was one of two firms that responded to the port authority¹s recent request for proposals. The cost of the plan is estimated at $135,000, of which about $50,000 is currently on hand from previously awarded grants. The port authority is working on other sources of grant funding to make up the difference, said Kootenai River Development Corporation director Paul Rumelhart.

³We¹re going to come up with enough funding to do this thing,² he said.

Rumelhart and port authority chairman Jim Mayo traveled to Bozeman this week to meet with CTA¹s Ron Slade, who is heading up the project for the firm.

³We¹re on it full steam ahead right now and we want this thing done by the first part of August,² Rumelhart said.

CTA will analyze the site¹s existing infrastructure — including electrical, water and sewer systems, roads, railroad access and a number of buildings — along with potential tenants for the site and redevelopment possibilities. An analyst with experience in redeveloping industrial sites is being hired as a consultant to examine local and regional economic conditions and to look at comparable projects elsewhere, Slade said.

³What is the benchmark for the kind of product that Libby can sustain?² he said.

The Kalispell firm of Thomas, Dean & Hoskins — which has worked on a number of projects with local governmental entities — will be contracted to participate in the civil engineering portions of the site plan, Slade said.

The project will also take into account such factors as soil composition, hydrology, solar exposure and wind direction in drawing up redevelopment plans, Slade said.

Community involvement will be solicited early on through public forums.

³There will be no better insight than the local residents can offer,² Slade said.

Local input on the socioeconomic situation and trends is vital, he said.

³The benefit of a lifetime of living in Libby or even a few years will be paramount,² he said.