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More answers needed on downtown plan

| June 7, 2006 12:00 AM

To the Editor:

This is my observation on the $7.5 million downtown Mineral Avenue Streetscape.

As I see it, Mineral Avenue consists of 16 blocks, (eight on each side), each block at 275 feet of frontage times 16 blocks equals 4,400 feet. There are eight streets crossing Mineral Avenue.

A $7.5 million project divided by 16 blocks would cost $468,750 per block divided by 275 feet of frontage equals $1,704.54 per foot.

Tony Berget said he is confident the city will be able to get 50 percent of the funding. A grant at 50 percent of $1,704.54 feet equals $852.27 feet, thus we have $852.27 per foot to come up with yet.

Tom Wood of Libby Revitalization Inc. said "70 percent to 80 percent would come from federal grants." A grant at 80 percent of $1,704.54 feet equals $1,363.63 feet, thus we have $340.91 per foot to come up with yet.

Wood also said, "Don't let that $7.5 million scare you, maybe it's going to be a $3 million project."

Three million divided by 16 blocks would cost $187,500 per block, divided by 275 foot frontage equals $681.82 per foot. A grant at 50 percent of $681.82 equals $340.91. We have $340.91 to come up with yet.

Now isn't that strange. Either a $7.5 million project with 80 percent grants versus a $3 million project with 50 percent grants each leaves us short $340.91 per foot. Sixteen blocks times 275 feet equals 4,400 feet times $340.91 per foot equals $1.5 million to come up with.

If we do only get 50 percent grant money on the $7.5 million, we still have $852.27 per foot times 4,400 feet equals $3.7 million to come up with.

Where does all this other money come from? The tentative city plan to form a Special Improvement District to tax property owners $75 to $100 is clearly not going to be enough to help this situation much.

Who pays for this? What is the alternative plan if grant money does not come through? I think some answers are needed here. What is the overall plan?

Shirley Hirst