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Resident-owned community poised to hook into Kalispell's water and sewer

by CARL FOSTER
Daily Inter Lake | January 27, 2024 12:00 AM

Resident-owned Morning Star Community in Kalispell is poised to begin building water and sewer connections to the city after securing $2.15 million in funding for the undertaking.

Another similar mobile home community, Green Acres, is working on sewer connections, but is awaiting roughly $200,000 additional funding. The two communities, located southeast of downtown Kalispell, share a fence line. Both are home to septic systems nearing the end of their lifespans. 

Morning Star, a resident-owned community since 2017, has been awarded its total project cost of $2.15 million with $750,000 coming from the Montana Coal Endowment Program, $125,000 from the state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Renewable Resources Grant and Loan Program, $525,000 from EPA Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act grant funds and $750,000 in the form of a Community Development Block Grant. 

City staff annexed the neighborhoods at the behest of residents in 2018 and subsequently sponsored grant applications for the projects. Kalispell City Manager Doug Russell says, 

“We’re just the pass-through for [these funds],” said City Manager Doug Russell. “But it will be a great benefit to those communities.” 

“We’re thrilled,” said Karen Gunderson, who lives at the Morning Star cooperative. “I’m the treasurer, so it was an ouch when we had to pay $11,000 extra for taxes right away, but we are very happy to be going onto the [city’s] sewer and water.”

Construction for both projects is slated for 2025, with project completion set for the spring of 2026. 

According to Neighborworks Cooperative Housing Director Danielle Maiden, tying into Kalispell’s water and sewer infrastructure is essential for these communities. It will result in the removal of 24 aging septic tanks.

The effort to connect nearby Green Acres, resident owned since 2010, is expected to cost $990,598. Thus far, the city has been awarded a $750,000 Community Development Block Grant for the undertaking. The community is working with City Hall to find additional sources of funding.

Reporter Carl Foster can be reached at 758-4407 or cfoster@dailyinterlake.com.

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