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Council hears proposal for riverbank resort

| October 6, 2006 12:00 AM

By BRENT SHRUM Western News Editor

A local developer briefed the Libby City Council Monday on a proposal to build a five-story hotel and restaurant complex on the bank of the Kootenai River just across the bridge from town.

Matt Hollingsworth told the council he's in the process of buying the 13-acre property where he plans to build the hotel and will be closing the deal on Oct. 13. He said he came to the council for "a meet and greet" and to see if it "might be within the realm of possibility" to build a health and wellness center - including a swimming pool and ice rink - on city land adjacent to the planned hotel.

Hollingsworth estimated the construction cost for the hotel at $5 million to $10 million, with the health and wellness center "around the same amount." He said he will be financing the construction himself with money made through hurricane repair contracts. He said he isn't seeking any financial assistance from the city.

Mayor Tony Berget said the council has to be careful when dealing with city property but that the city has shown an interest in developing its property across the river. He indicated that the council might be interested in Hollingsworth's proposal.

Hollingsworth pointed out that extension of city sewer and water service - along with annexation in to the city limits - would be necessary for the project to move ahead. Berget said it would be possible to extend service across the river, using hangers on the underside of the bridge.

"I can tell you that's definitely a possibility, because we've put things in motion so that can happen," he said.

Hollingsworth said he grew up in Libby and works as a contractor in other states. He said he owns several properties in Libby, including the former Eagles hall on Mineral Avenue and properties on Main Avenue and behind Dairy Queen.