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Commission supports downtown projects

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POLSON – The Polson City Commission approved a number of measures intended to revitalize Polson’s downtown. At its June 3 meeting, commissioners approved applications for funding from the Polson Redevelopment Agency from the Cove Deli and Betty’s Diner. The commission also approved a zoning variance request to allow the Showboat Cinema expansion project. The Showboat Cinemas project was also supported by PRA funds.

The Cove Deli applied for funds to paint the building on the alley side of the business. According to PRA Chairman Gayle Siemers, the Cove Deli was unable to cover the cost of painting that side of the building after updating the front of the building. In agreement with the PRA’s recommendation, the commission approved a grant of $2,762.50 to support the job’s completion.

Betty’s Diner applied for $11,562 to replace an existing sewer line and upgrade the building’s heating, ventilation and cooling system. The grant will cover half the total cost of the project. Siemers said the outdated air conditioning system made working conditions for the business’s 23-25 summer employees unbearable. Siemers said the PRA recommended the commission approve the funding, as the business is prominent in the community.

A community member complained that PRA funding was benefitting private businesses in the city rather than individual community members. Commissioner Bob Martin said he understood where the criticism was coming from.  

“I would like to have the committee work towards common infrastructure type projects that will help all businesses in town and citizens of Polson,” Martin said. 

The commission approved a request from Showboat Cinemas that will allow the expansion of the cinema without the addition of an off-street freight loading area. According to the agenda item, the Showboat Cinemas expansion will add five new auditoriums to the business, and make the existing two-screen cinema into one large auditorium. The proposed expansion will be an 18,060 square foot cinema. According to the Polson Development Code, any commercial and industrial building with a floor area of 10,000 square feet and greater must have an off-street loading area. According to their application, the business is unable to build the loading area. The business requested the zoning variance so they would not be required to build the loading area. City staff recommended the commission approve the zoning variance request.

The commission also heard from golf professional Cameron Milton on fundraising efforts for an addition to the Polson Bay Golf Course. The addition will house a golf simulator for use during the winter months, and will support the Junior Golf Association. Milton said to date donors have pledged $109,000 of the $150,000 needed to complete the project. The addition to the Polson Bay Golf Course clubhouse will house two golf simulators.


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