SD #10 street and sidewalk talks set for June 11


The what, where, when and who will manage the Cottom Street Reconstruction project on the roadways and sidewalks around the Dillon School District #10 campus got finalized at last month’s SD #10 School Board meeting.

But the details of how to pay for the project remains up in the air, and will be discussed at the School Board’s next meeting on Tuesday at 7 p.m., when community members will get a chance to put their two cents in on how to best bankroll the projected $374,000 that SD #10 will have to pony up for the project.

Based on the area around the Dillon School District #10 campus, the Cottom Street Reconstruction project will include: the installation of raised pedestrian walkways leading to and from the campus, the removal of asphalt and sidewalks; excavation; the placement of gravel, sub-base gravel and asphalt pavement; plus work on curbs, standup curbs, gutters, sidewalks and handicapped ramps.  

After discussions with Dillon Mayor Marty Malesich and City Treasurer Ty Cobb at its May meeting, the School Board voted unanimously to name the City of Dillon the project’s contracting agent.

The city has since put out an Invitation to Bid on the project, with bids due by 2 p.m. on June 14. A pre-bid conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. tomorrow at City Hall.

Cobb outlined several different Special Improvement District (SID) financing options for the project to the School Board, which asked Cobb to put together a detailed explanation of the options for a presentation at next Tuesday’s meeting.

A majority of the School Board, led by Vice Chair Kathy Hilton, felt the community should have the opportunity to offer input on the financing, even though the SID will include only SD #10 property and thus not require a public hearing, according to Cobb.

Given its projected finances for the coming year, SD #10 could conceivably pay for its $374,000 portion of the project outright. But SD #10 Superintendant Dr. Glen Johnson and the School Board want to consider other options that would allow them to keep a substantial chunk of money in a building reserve fund.

SD #10 currently has $88,000 in its building fund, according to Johnson, and $50,000 due this year and next in federal transportation funds. It is also anticipating the influx of $300,000 from the completion of the Mary Innes building sale that was agreed to last year with the Old Town Group, a California investment fund led by Dr John Micha.

The School Board got an update at its May meeting on the progress of that sale by Guardian Real Estate’s Chip Rule, the local realtor representing Dr. Micha.

Rule revealed that Micha had found he could not gain liability insurance on the property at a sustainable rate because the property included a playground on its Tract #4 section, but that a preschool which is currently a property tenant requires access to the playground.

Rule offered the board a solution in which Tract #4 ownership would be retained by the SD #10, which would grant a facilities use agreement to the preschool. As part of the deal, Dr. Micha would gain an option to purchase Tract #4 for $1 from the School District at any time in the next century and would agree to finance the fencing of the playground’s western border to secure it from the rest of the property.

The Board unanimously endorsed the amendment to the Mary Innes School sale agreement put forth by Rule, who said he had to locate and review handwritten documents from Montana’s territorial days to find the Mary Innes property’s original title description.

“This has been possibly the most complicated transaction I’ve been involved with in 25 years in the real estate business,” commented Rule, who hopes the deal can be completed by the end of the month.

The next Dillon School District #10 School Board meeting will take place on Tuesday, June 11, beginning at 7 p.m. in the District Board Conference Room in the SD #10 campus at 22 N. Cottom St.