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Evergreen sidewalk fundraising goes the distance

| November 4, 2021 12:00 AM

The Evergreen community knew where there was a will, there was a way, and with that positive approach the needed $50,000 match for the first phase of the Evergreen sidewalk project has been raised, with seed money already in place for the second phase.

Phase 1 includes building a sidewalk from U.S. 2 East between Montana 35 and Evergreen Drive on both sides of the highway and north to Meadowlark Drive on the west side of the highway.

Flathead Electric Cooperative, a mainstay Evergreen business for decades, stepped up recently with a $25,000 grant for sidewalks by using unclaimed capital credit dollars. The co-op’s gift will serve as seed money for Phase II of the project, which will extend the sidewalk along the west side of U.S. 2 onto West Evergreen Drive. Specifically, the co-op’s funding will help pay for preliminary engineering costs for the second phase of the project.

Evergreen community leaders report that financial support has come not only from its citizens and businesses, but also from people throughout the Flathead Valley who know how important it is to have safe, walkable routes to schools.

A nearly $1 million grant from the Montana Department of Transportation sealed the deal for sidewalks, and two special tax districts set up by the county will pay for ongoing maintenance.

As with so many grassroots projects, there are many stakeholders who have come together for the betterment of their community.

THERE WAS a whole lot of Trunk or Treating going on last Saturday in the Kmart parking lot in Evergreen, thanks to the organizing efforts of the Flathead County Sheriff’s Posse.

The all-volunteer Posse lead the charge for this year’s Halloween event, which Posse member Kerry Johnston estimates was attended by 3,000 to 5,000 folks.

Last year’s community event was primarily organized by the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office. About 1,500 attended that event, which took place at the fairgrounds.

Johnston said the Sheriff’s Posse, an Evergreen-based organization, was keen on making it an Evergreen event this year. The Evergreen Chamber of Commerce quickly jumped on board. Countless other organizations, the Mounted Posse, first responders, community businesses and local families contributed, joining law enforcement and fire departments from across the Flathead Valley, along with First Interstate and Glacier banks, Park Side Credit Union, Glacier Park International Airport and Murdoch’s. Donations poured in and Johnston said thousands of pieces of candy were doled out to the eager trick-or-treaters.

The ALERT helicopter even landed — twice — during the three-hour event in a show of support.

Since it was established in 1946, the Flathead County Sheriff’s Posse has worked hand in hand with the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office and is a critical component of our local law enforcement. Kudos to these dedicated local volunteers who give their time so generously to support the Sheriff’s Office in protecting the public, helping keep our citizens safe, and for taking the reins on this colossal community undertaking.