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CARD prepares new proposal

| October 1, 2004 12:00 AM

By Brent Shrum Western News Reporter

Following the rejection of a $250,000 grant request to fund the development of an asbestos research center, the Center for Asbestos-Related Disease is returning to the Libby Area Development Co. with a new proposal that includes an annual payback to the community.

The revamped proposal calls for the LADC to approve a $250,000 award with the CARD funding an annual $5,000 scholarship to be offered to a Lincoln County resident pursuing a degree in health care. The first scholarship would be awarded in January 2006.

The CARD board came up with the proposal during a session immediately following the Sept. 22 meeting where the LADC rejected the grant request, said board vice president LeRoy Thom.

The idea for an annual scholarship, to be offered every year as long as the CARD is in existence, comes in response to suggestions from LADC members to develop a new proposal that gives something back to the community, Thom said.

³I think it fills a need and it¹s a good gesture to the community,² he said.

The LADC board voted 3-2 against funding the CARD request as a simple grant. Pat Pezzelle and Mike Munro voting in favor of the request but Earl Messick, Bob Castaneda and Allen Woods voting against. Board chairman Bob Parker only votes in the event of a tie.

Both the CARD and Kootenai Winter Sports, seeking funding for a ski lodge project at Turner Mountain, had been directed by the LADC to turn their grant proposals into loans due to the diminishing nature of the city¹s economic development fund. At the time the requests were made, about $1.3 million remained in the fund, which was started with an $8 million federal grant in September 2000.

The Turner Mountain project was later approved by the LADC as a $200,000 grant combined with a recommendation to forgive an existing $110,829 debt left over from a 2001 project to replace the ski hill¹s T-bar lift with a chair lift. After a review of the ski group¹s finances, the LADC board agreed that the organization was unable to take on the additional debt. The Libby City Council has since approved the proposal as a straightforward $302,000 grant.

CARD representatives told the LADC board on Sept. 22 that they were seeking the same consideration given to the Turner Project and asked the board to vote on the proposal in its original form. After the LADC rejected the grant request, board members encouraged CARD representatives to come back for another meeting if they could agree on a new proposal that includes an element of repayment. As of Wednesday, Sept. 29, a new meeting between the LADC and the CARD had not been scheduled.