Outpouring of Support to Save the Blue Range at Last Week's Council Meeting


 


Hello all and welcome to KBMF’s wrap up of last weeks meeting of the Butte Silver Bow Council of Commissioners. I’m Daniel Hogan and every week we will look back at actions taken by the legislative body of our government and look forward to tonight’s agenda which can be heard live on KBMF starting at 7:30 pm.

So let’s get started.

The February 17th meeting was a marathon 3 hour event that took place virtually, there were two public hearings and 20 communications to wade through but the real star of the evening was a last minute addition to the agenda via suspension of the rules.

The Blue Range has been owned by Larry Hoffman for 40 years and he recently entered into an agreement with nearby Staack’s Motor Sports to sell the property pending demolition of most of the structure. Staack’s plans to expand it’s storage capacity for recreational motor vehicles on the site.

The controversy about the plan comes from the fact that the Blue Range is one of the last examples of a purpose built brothel in the West. Butte’s Historic Preservation Commission recommended to block the demolition and ended up voting to enforce a 90 day stay on the sale in which Mr. Hoffman must advertise the building to see if another buyer would be interested in saving the structure.

The demolition of historic structures in Butte is always a hot topic but this particular story has seemed to hit a nerve with the public that was evident on Wednesday night through many letters and phone calls addressed to the council in support of exploring other options.

Here are a few highlights of those public comments, letters are read by Council Chair Shaw.

One letter was from someone who offered to purchase the Blue Range. Peggy Guccione has invested in and renovated several historic structures in Butte and proposed a plan for rehabilitation of 56 E. Granite.

Public comment lasted nearly an hour into the meeting with the overwhelming majority of input opposing the demolition of the Blue Range.

The best was certainly saved for last, but Madame Chair was interrupted while reading the final letter into the record.

Chief Executive Gallagher found Mr. Gerbrandt’s letter inappropriate and cut his public comment short so in the interest of fairness Butch Gerbrandt joins the Council Wrap now to read his letter in full and let the people of Butte make their own choice in the matter of what constitutes as public comment.

The council eventually voted after much discussion to allow a 45 day stay on demolition, the future of the Blue Range remains up in the air.

Tonight’s February 24th meeting of the Butte Silver Bow Council of commissioners is certainly lighter than last week, but important issues will still be up for discussion including the enforceability of an ordinance concerning livestock and hoofed animals in city limits, the closing of Civic Center Road for more Parrot Tailings work, and certainly the continuation of the Larry Hoffman, Staak’s Motor Sports Demolition Saga. Tune in to hear it live on KBMF 102.5 every Wednesday at 7:30pm

Due to the virtual nature of the Council Meetings, if you would like to provide comment on agenda items or any issue, you must either call 406 497-5009 to submit verbal comment or submit written comment via email to public-input@bsb.mt.go

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