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Commission approves schedule of fees for Polson parks

POLSON – Starting this summer, the Polson Parks and Recreation Department will collect fees for special use of city parks. Last week the City Commission approved the proposed schedule of fees for the Parks and Recreation Department for the 2018 season.

This will be the first year that fees are required to hold special events in the city parks, reserve park structures, and acquire permits for activities in the parks. The fees will cover administrative costs as well as park improvement and repairs costs. 

Last year deposits were required for those seeking to hold special events, reserve structures, or obtain permits. Director of Parks and Recreation Pat Nowlen said there was no damage done to the facilities and thus all deposits were returned. 

“This was a drastic improvement from the previous year when we had in the neighborhood of $3,500 to $4,000 worth of damage,” Nowlen said.

Those who wish to reserve a shelter can use the Parks and Recreation website at Other permits and applications for park use must be submitted at City Hall.

Yearly update on airport

The ramp reconstruction project at the Polson airport is on uncertain ground. At the commission meeting Rick Newman, chairman of the Lake County Joint Airport Board, reported on the project as part of an update on the airport status. 

Last fall, the ramp reconstruction project hit a roadblock when the contractor was unable to hire local subcontractors and procure materials from local vendors to finish the project. 

The contractor is Bjorn Johnson Construction of Missoula. Newman said that the contractor met with the Lake County Commission on March 15. At the meeting the commission gave the contractor an April 6 deadline to submit a work schedule for the remainder of the project. Newman said that if the contractor does not meet that deadline the contractor’s bonding company would be required to cover the costs of the remainder of the project. In that case other companies would be hired to finish the construction. Newman said he hopes that the project will be completed in June, weather permitting.

During his update Newman also said that last year the Polson airport bought a snowplow. The purchase reduced snow removal costs and removed snow more effectively than hiring a company to plow.

The airport board has also purchased chip credit card readers to replace the swipe readers for the fuel farms at each of the airports. The new readers will be installed before next fire season.

Commission approves application for redevelopment funds

In an effort to spur development, the Polson Redevelopment Agency will contribute funds to qualifying projects in the city of Polson. On April 11 the PRA will review the first round of applications for funds to support development projects in high-need areas in the city. Last week the commission approved the proposed Polson Redevelopment Agency Program Application Package.

According to their project criteria, the Polson Redevelopment Agency program works to create “quality jobs with livable wages and an enhanced quality of life for all who live here.” The program will contribute grants, matching funds, or loans to projects that qualify. The money will come from Tax Incremental Finance funds. These are appropriated from property taxes within the city.

A TIF district is one that has been identified as blighted, or in need of development. The PRA will fund development projects in four TIF districts in the City of Polson. These areas are Salish Point, the central business district, the rail yard, and the residential and commercial areas adjacent to the rail yard.

At the commission meeting City Manager Mark Shrives said that the program would fund 10 percent of projects up to $100,000. 

Commissioner Lou Marchello said that the PRA already knows of projects that could fit the criteria for funding. “Part of the idea with this application was that we have several people that are interested in the area,” he said.  

The PRA will accept applications quarterly, to be reviewed on April 11, July 11 and October 10 this year. The PRA board and the City Commission will review each application. Applications can be found on the PRA webpage on the City of Polson's website.

Updates from City Manager

City Manager Mark Shrives reported that the Montana Municipal Executive Forum was a success. The forum provided opportunities for local leaders throughout the state to exchange ideas and learn from the Polson community. The event, held March 28-30, brought mayors, city managers, and chief officials from cities throughout Montana to Polson. On the first day of the forum attendees visited local businesses and took in presentations on economic development in Polson. 

“Everybody really was impressed with what they saw on the tour,” Shrives said.

Shrives also told the commission that the wastewater treatment plant project was on a one week weather break last week due to weather-related moisture on the site. The contract will be extended one week to compensate for the break.

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