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Columbia Falls gets big infrastructure grant

by Daily Inter Lake
| April 8, 2021 2:20 PM

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration on Thursday awarded a $633,146 grant to the city of Columbia Falls, to build water and sewer infrastructure and improve roads to serve the Cedar Palace LLC business park that includes medical offices and other businesses.

The federal grant, to be matched with $633,146 in local investment, is expected to create 70 jobs and generate $5.8 million in private investment.

The project will reconstruct a portion of 12th Avenue West roadway in Columbia Falls, install a connecting sidewalk, make sewer system improvements, and connect the business park to city sewer and water services.

Columbia Falls City Manager Susan Nicosia said Cedar Palace LLC will invest $320,000 toward the match, with the city contributing $313,146. She expects the city to get started right away with soliciting requests for proposals and working with BNSF Railway, as the water main will go under the railroad tracks.

“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in helping communities implement their plans to provide the vital infrastructure that businesses need to be successful,” Dennis Alvord, acting assistant secretary for economic development said in a press release.

Montana Sen. Jon Tester applauded the grant, saying “the coronavirus pandemic has hit Montana’s economy hard, and as our businesses work hard to turn things around, this funding will be a valuable support. These funds will help Columbia Falls build out critically needed infrastructure that will attract new businesses, create jobs, and put Montana’s economy back on the right track.”

Montana Sen. Steve Daines said “Montana small businesses have faced incredible challenges throughout this pandemic and stepped up to continue providing essential services to our communities.”

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by Flathead County Economic Development Authority, which EDA funds to help bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.