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Good Samaritan Ministries gets $450K state grant for Helena thrift store

The Lewis and Clark County Board of County Commissioners accepted a nearly half million dollar grant that it plans to pass along Good Samaritan Ministries to construct a new roof over its Helena thrift store.

The $450,000 community development block grant award from the Montana Department of Commerce is being matched with nearly $440,000 raised privately by Good Samaritan Ministries.

Lewis and Clark County Grants Administrator Ann McCauley said the county submitted an application for the grant last fall and was awarded the grant in December. These grants come with a nine-month start-up period, which allowed the Catholic charity organization time to drum up the matching funds.

"We've been thumbs-up on this for quite a while," County Commissioner and Board Chairman Andy Hunthausen said.

County Commissioner Jim McCormick thanked those involved in securing the grant.

"Nice to see this moving forward," McCormick said. "It takes time, lotta work, lotta folks, lotta lifting to do these things, and these grants are competitive, so that's good work."

Stahley Engineering Grant Specialist Robie Culver congratulated Good Samaritan on the organization's efforts in securing the matching funds.

"It was piece by piece, let me tell you," Culver said. "They received money from several foundations, from local donors and they have also reserved funds for this, so I just want to commend them for that."

Local firm Dowling Architects handled the preliminary architecture report and will soon begin the design phase of the project.

Architect Mike Dowling said all the insulation and recovery board will be replaced, resulting in significant energy cost savings.

Currently the roof over the thrift store slopes only a tenth of an inch per foot, resulting in large puddles on top of the building after a rain storm.

He said his firm's minimum standard is a quarter inch per foot.

"We see ponds up there that can be 200 feet in diameter at times, which of course is putting an incredible amount of weight on that building," Dowling said.

With the addition of a new roof membrane and new HVAC equipment, the new roof should last another 50 to 60 years, according to Dowling.

Good Samaritan Ministries Executive Director Theresa Ortega said she never thought her organization would be able to tackle the massive undertaking.

"I'd like to thank you all for this process," Ortega told the commission and staff. "It was definitely a learning experience."

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Local Government and Crime Reporter

Nolan Lister is a reporter at the Helena Independent Record with an emphasis on local government and crime.

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