Kalispell moves on college grant request for FVCC

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After getting a few questions cleared up on Tuesday, the Kalispell City Council decided to move forward with a grant application for Flathead Valley Community College.

Kalispell would seek $350,000 from the Community Development Block Grant Program for the college to expand its heavy equipment operator training and licensing program.

If the grant is awarded, the money would buy machinery for the training program, including a grader, bulldozer, scraper, mid-size loader and two excavators.

Council members set a March 4 public hearing for the proposal, when they will vote on whether to authorize city staffers to apply for the competitive funding.

Mayor Tammi Fisher questioned if this grant application would prevent Kalispell from applying for more money from the Community Development Block Grant Program.

She pointed to Flathead County, which is considering if it will ask Kalispell to sponsor an application for $450,000 from the Community Development Block Grant Program to help pay for a proposed new Agency on Aging building.

That’s the largest amount that can be requested.

Glacier Community Center also has expressed interest in a Kalispell-sponsored grant application, city officials have said.

Community and Economic Development Manager Katharine Thompson told the council that the Community Development Block Grant Program has several grant categories. An application to one category does not prevent the city from applying for another, she said.

The application for the college seeks money from an economic development program. Applications for Flathead County or the Glacier Community Center would target a separate public facilities program.

This grant could limit Kalispell’s ability to apply for another economic development grant. If money is awarded the city could not apply for another economic development grant for two years or until 75 percent of the grant has been spent, Thompson said.

KALISPELL HAS requested Flathead County and Glacier Community Center to provide more information about their potential projects and grant applications at a work session on Monday, Feb. 25.

“We don’t want to be the ones holding it up, so we’ll start working through that process if any of the entities want to take advantage of that,” City Manager Doug Russell said.

Reporter Tom Lotshaw may be reached at 758-4483 or by email at tlotshaw@dailyinterlake.com.

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