Saturday, October 23, 2021
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Evergreen sidewalk grant a win for the community

| September 23, 2021 12:00 AM

Evergreen community leaders deserve a round of applause for going the distance to secure a nearly $1 million state grant for the construction of long-awaited sidewalks along portions of two very busy highways.

Earlier this month the Montana Department of Transportation approved a $984,881 grant for sidewalks on U.S. 2 between Montana 35 and Sunset Drive, and along portions of Montana 35 and West Evergreen Drive. While school children will be the direct beneficiaries of new walkways, the entire community will benefit from safer pedestrian routes.

The U.S. 2 corridor, in particular, is lined for much of the year with muddy or dusty foot paths, or nearly impassable mounds of snow and ice, forcing students to walk or bike along the edge of the highway to and from Evergreen's elementary and junior high schools.

A final hurdle for the citizen-driven project will be raising $50,000, a requirement of Flathead County, which set up special tax districts to pay for ongoing maintenance of the new Evergreen sidewalks. Community leaders are confident the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce and other individuals and groups will be able to raise the money. Evergreen is known for its can-do attitude; its supporters will get the job done.

THE WHITEFISH Community Foundation’s annual fundraising challenge reached new heights this year — proving once again that the spirit of giving is alive and well in the Flathead Valley.

The Great Fish Challenge wrapped up last week and pulled in an amazing $3.6 million — about $1 million more than last year. Those generous contributions will greatly benefit 61 local nonprofits that undoubtedly faced numerous pandemic-related challenges over the last year. These organizations contribute meaningful and often overlooked services to the valley, and we are all better off when they are thriving.

We continue to be impressed by and thankful for the folks at the Whitefish Community Foundation who organize and promote this critical fundraiser every summer. Since 2013, the challenge has raised more than $16.5 million — a figure the foundation and entire community should be proud of.