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City Desk

Palmer updates Kiwanians


by Jim Larson
Sept. 23, 2018

At right, Dave Palmer shares a laugh with Stephanie Sorini at a ribbon cutting held at Coldwell Banker Markovich Real Estate last summer. Palmer is Chief Executive for Butte-Silver Bow. Ms. Sorini is Executive Director for the Butte-Silver Bow Chamber of Commerce.

Dave Palmer gave Butte-Silver Bow Kiwanis a rosy update last Thursday on the state of the city-county where he serves as chief executive.

Mr. Palmer began with parks and recreation, noting that Butte’s new waterpark “Ridge Waters,” exceeded revenue expectations more than fivefold. It was thought that the park would bring in $50,000 in its first season. Instead it took in more than $250,000, Palmer noted.

The chief executive said that 2019 would be an even better year for the water park, predicting that other improvements to the “central park” area would be complete by the end of the year, including a new playground.

Palmer noted that the Spirit of Columbia Gardens Carousel had reached completion, and he recommended a visit to that facility, saying “It’s amazing the job that the carvers did.”

“Stodden Park’s going to be a destination park for all of Southwest Montana,” Palmer added.

The chief executive then turned to Butte’s superfund activities. “You may not believe it, but after 30 years it’s is beginning to make some headway again,” he said. He noted that there were nine work plans in place, “that will really improve the looks of the whole Butte area.


Land use planning sessions were in progress, Palmer noted, and the Parrot Tailings were being removed as a separate project by the state.

The chief executive noted that housing construction in Butte “was staying strong.” Two new subdivisions were under consideration, he said. One project on the Brandon-Legg property was going through the planning process, he said. That subdivision would be located west of the YMCA, he told the Kiwanians.

The Copper Fox subdivision had hit “a right of way snafu,” Palmer said, but the project was working through that. Copper Fox will be located north of Margaret O’Leary school, he said.

Matt Nistler was completing a housing project just west of the Copper King Hotel, Palmer noted. “There’s a lot of nice duplexes and fourplexes there,” the chief executive said.

In Uptown Butte, the Praxis Center project was still moving forward, Palmer said. The project had been out of the news lately, he noted, but he added that buy-sell options had been renewed and fundraising continued.  Hopefully sometime early next year, the project would break ground, Palmer said.

Starbucks would start construction on a new store on Harrison Avenue “within a week or two,” the chief executive said.

The new Ace Hardware construction was “doing nicely,” and the new store should open sometime in the upcoming year, Palmer said

Switching to upcoming events, Palmer announced that the Montana League of Cities and Towns was holding its conference at the end of September in Butte. Four hundred participants were expected, he said.

Mr. Palmer said that he had spoken with Matt Vincent that morning to get an update the CryptoWatt operation that mines Bitcoin south of Butte.

Vincent reported to Palmer that the company was using 58 megawatts of power. In comparison, noted the chief executive, the city of Butte uses 30 to 35 megawatts of power. The operation has roughly 70 employees currently, and it will have 55 workers remaining once the facility is complete, Palmer said. To date, said Palmer, the company had invested $100 million in the project.

In the world of retail, Butte officials have reached out to the owners of the Butte Plaza Mall, Palmer noted. “We just had a phone conversation with a couple of trustees out of California on that. It was the first time we had been able to get any real answers from them.”

He said that the trustees were willing to work with Butte-Silver Bow to bring some anchor tenants to the mall.

With that report complete, the chief executive took questions from the room.


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