Letters to the Editor

What’s in a name?

Dear Editor,
Congratulations to everyone involved in the proposed development of the creekside ‘park’ area on Highway 87, across East Main Street from the Yogo Inn and walking trail system trailhead at the old Westfeeds/Central Feeds location.
Described as a park, a gathering place, a marketplace, “currently a mix of natural areas along Spring Creek and trails as well as parking and buildings,” future location of all-season restrooms/visitor rest stop, an amphitheater, etc., the proposed development presents many exciting possibilities and a unique new amenity/venue for Lewistown and the Central Montana community.
When envisioning the multipurpose potential of this stunning and strategic area, it makes the naming of this area important. The development deserves a name with some uplifting flourish and imagination. We’ll live with the name of this venue for many years. The name designated has the potential to uplift and add shine to Lewistown.
Personally, I’d like to suggest “Spring Creek Commons”, or “Spring Creek Green” for the name of this area. How about a contest conducted by the News-Argus, inviting additional suggestions to name this project?
I understand that the final decision on the name of the area will be at the discretion of the Parks and Recreation Commission and City Commissioners, but multiple ideas from our community would make their job easier. As they say, “the more the merrier.”
It is my hope that others will share my high expectations and visions for this fabulous development opportunity and give thoughtful consideration to the naming of this innovative venture. The name should be the best we can make it.
Karen Kuhlmann
Lewistown

Time is running
out for veterans home

Dear Editor,
Our veterans have waited far too long for the veterans’ home in southwestern Montana. The ground has been donated to build the home, and the state has allotted our share (35 percent) of the project cost. Currently the only piece still required to break ground on the project is the money from the Veterans Administration (65 percent). Montana is on the Veterans Administration project list, which means the federal government has permanently guaranteed the funds. However, due to our small population, Montana has continuously been ranked too low on the priority list to be funded, preventing the veterans’ home from being built.
It has been eight years since the project was approved by the state. Two years ago House Bill 493 proposed the State take out a short-term loan from the Montana Facility Finance Authority to pay the remaining 65 percent until the Veterans Administration could pay back their portion. The bill requires a two-thirds majority to pass, but at the last legislative session it was tabled in committee. In the current session Representative Jim Keane has proposed HB 5, requesting the state use $16.8 million in bond money as a bridge loan to cover the project until the federal government comes through. The loan would come out of bond money designated for infrastructure projects in HB 14.
Time is crucial for the fate of the veterans home. Due to inflation, the cost of construction increases every day the project is delayed. Furthermore, the land for the project was donated in 2009 by Don Harrington on a 10-year contract. If ground is not broken by 2019, the land will go back to the Harrington family. Because the Montana legislature only meets every two years, the current session is the last chance to save the project and build the veterans home before the donation contract expires.
According to Charles Aull, nearly 10 percent of Montanans are veterans (Aull, 2015). Currently the closest veterans home is in Columbia Falls, which is almost four hours away. Our veterans have waited long enough for this project; they should not have to wait any longer.
It is time to thank our veterans for their service. Please contact your representatives on this matter. We need their vote for the veterans of Montana.
Cattlin Carmody, senior, Butte High School
Robert Pavlovich, former Montana House member
Butte

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Poll

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