LE HAVRE, Mont. (NMB) – 145 people gathered in the Olympic Room at the Duck Inn on Wednesday afternoon for the 112th annual meeting and luncheon of the Le Havre Chamber of Commerce, the first since 2020.
Randy Hafer, CEO of High Plains Architects, delivered the keynote address. He detailed his early thoughts on the city of Le Havre and discussed the process of creating a Downtown Master Plan, which will provide a blueprint for the revitalization of Le Havre.
“We don’t focus on one type of building. We have different, we call them attitudes, that we bring to projects. So we are working on many historic buildings, doing renovations and adaptive reuse. We build a lot of high performance buildings, and that just means very energy and resource efficient buildings. We do a lot of projects related to downtown revitalization, and we also do development… One of our goals isn’t just to hand you a blueprint that you can quickly sit on a shelf and watch pick up the dust, but coming up with a plan is achievable. And we will have projects that we believe can be implemented very quickly.
Hafer said there are many buildings in Le Havre that have huge potential.
“We can take really shitty old buildings and do different things with them. Not only does this add to the tax base, but we can just add to the revitalization, life and character of downtown…Like most towns in Montana, there are many grand old buildings. But there are also many large old buildings that are not in full use. It was really obvious, even from our Google tour…(in my visit so far) I was so impressed with the different companies we see, the kind of stuff that’s going on here. But you go back to the side and it’s kind of like ‘uhhh. wow. Everything looks tired, a little worn. There’s a lot of filled windows and that sort of thing. So this stuff ends up getting pretty easy. It’s one thing if all those buildings are boarded up and there’s nothing inside. So there’s really a lot inside. And a lot of new businesses, clearly new energy. There are a lot of young business owners, it was very exciting.
Hafer said another issue that will be addressed in the master plan is making the city more pedestrian-friendly.
“There are things we can do about it. They don’t even have to be that expensive. But again, the fabric that already exists in terms of existing buildings, it’s not like “wow, the only way to get this job done is to tear it all down and start over.” You have it. We just need to show you how to fix it. And we have the ability to do that, and some of it is quite simple.
Before the keynote address, 2022 House Speaker Matt Wertheimer said their goals for 2022 were to increase House membership by 15, have 500 runners for the 2nd Bear Paw Marathon, increase their presence in the community by meeting with each business at least once, increase social media presence, run a quarterly shopping local campaign and help complete the downtown master plan and begin implement projects.
Among those present at the luncheon were Hill County Commissioners Jake Strissel and Mark Peterson, Havre Mayor Doug Kaercher, MSU-Northern Chancellor Greg Kegel, State Senator Russ Tempel, Superintendent of Havre Public Schools Craig Mueller and various business owners and other members of the public. .