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City to help with school demolition

| May 28, 2004 12:00 AM

By Brent Shrum, Western News Reporter

The Libby City Council on Monday approved a request to provide fill material and water in the event of the demolition of the old high school building at the corner of Mineral Avenue and Lincoln Boulevard.

The request came from council member and former school board member Gary Huntsberger, who has been working on plans to have the building torn down.

Huntsberger asked the city to commit to providing an estimated 1,500 yards of fill material along with access to the city water supply for dust control during demolition. Huntsberger said he has received a commitment from Libby Volunteer Fire Department Chief Tom Wood for the use of LVFD equipment to pump river water as the primary source of dust control for the demolition. The city water system will serve as a backup, Huntsberger said.

Hunstberger asked for a vote of support for the city so he could present his proposal to the school board.

³It¹s just simply part of a plan,² he said.

Contractor D.C. Orr told the council he owns a water truck and other local businesses provide fill material.

³You¹re stepping on some of the toes of some of the businesses in this town by doing this,² he said.

Huntsberger said the school district is strapped for cash and called the demolition proposal ³a community effort.²

³We all are participating for the benefit of our town,² he said.

The council approved Huntsberger¹s request by a 4-0 vote. Stu Crismore, Doug Roll, Lee Bothman and Charlene Leckrone all voted in favor of the proposal. Huntsberger did not vote, and Walt McElmurry was not present at the meeting.

In other business, the council formally received a recommendation from the Libby Area Development Co. to fund Libby Revitalization Inc. for a second year but took no action on the proposal.

LRI is seeking a $100,000 grant to fund operations for another year. When the group initially approached the LADC last year, it sought $300,000 for three years, but the proposal was modified to require separate requests for the second and third years. The organization¹s budget includes $45,000 for administration and $55,000 to fund projects.

The council plans to vote on the recommendation at its next regular meeting, scheduled for June 7.

The council postponed a decision on another LADC proposal — to participate with First National Bank in an $800,000 financing package for a couple looking to purchase and expand Kootenai Paving - until Tuesday, June 1. A special meeting has been scheduled to vote on the LADC¹s recommendation to loan George and Sheryl Niemi $320,000 to facilitate the purchase of Kootenai Paving. The Niemis would receive $400,000 from the bank and put in $80,000 of their own money. The bank would administer the loan and be in first position to collect if the Niemis were to default.