By Tim Leeds
The Hill County Commissioners have scheduled an open house from 4-8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 24, in the Havre-Hill County Library meeting room for the public to view current proposals on a fence in Beaver Creek Park and to make comments.
Notated maps will be posted on the wall to show where the fence is proposed to be built in the park, with sheets to make written comments. The Department of Transportation maps will show, step-by-step, where the fence recommended by the commissioner's advisory committee would be placed. The public has until June 10 to make comments on the proposal and get them to the commissioners' office.
Department of Transportation representatives will be at the open house, including Mick Johnson, the head of the Great Falls division.
Commissioner Kathy Bessette said nothing on the fence is final at this point. She said their number one priority is to try to get a waiver from the legislature during their next session so a fence will not be necessary. She said local legislators have shown their support to try to pass a waiver.
The fence is required under state regulations in order to receive state funding to improve the highway through the park. The state requires that cattle grazing in the park are kept away from the highway for safety reasons.
Bessette said the state aid in highway improvements is necessary due to property tax cuts which have decreased county funding, necessitating following state regulations such as the proposed fence.
Commissioner Doug Kaercher said the earliest any action would be taken to build the fence or improve the highway would be the summer of 2001. He said other action is being taken to mitigate the problem, such as developing springs to keep the cattle away from the highway and the creek.