Kalispell makes good use of Brownfields Program
United States Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler got a tour last week of two major Kalispell redevelopment sites that have benefited from $2 million in federal funding through the EPA Brownfields Program.
Wheeler, accompanied by Montana Sen. Steve Daines and other officials, looked at the Glacier Rail Park and three former CHS sites downtown, as well as the SunRift Restaurant along the railroad tracks. All were brownfield sites and thus eligible for the EPA program that provides funding and support for assessing potentially polluted sites and redeveloping commercial properties on them.
The city of Kalispell wisely has used this federal program to its advantage to redevelop key sites that already have driven business development. Glacier Rail Park, where CHS relocated its facilities, is a prime example of how brownfield funding can revitalize and completely transform a property that had been languishing because of environmental concerns. Daines is right on the money when he says brownfield funding “is a great way to better utilize the precious resources we have here in Montana.”
The next few weeks are typically the hottest of the year in Northwest Montana, which means area forests and fields are going to dry out quickly. In response to the arid conditions, wildfire managers have elevated the fire danger to high. This goes for the Flathead, Kootenai and Lolo forests, state lands, Glacier Park and Flathead County.
Wildfire officials stress that everyone plays an important role in preparing for and preventing wildfires. Homeowners on the wildland-urban interface should remove forest fuels on private property. Recreationists towing boats and campers should ensure chains don’t drag on pavement, and campers should learn about campfire management. And every household should create an emergency and evacuation plan should the worst-case scenario become reality.
Following these simple recommendations will go a long way to ensure a smoke-free summer and keep our communities safe.
For information on how to prepare for wildfire season, contact the Community Preparedness Specialist for the Kalispell Unit of the DNRC at 406-751-2270.