A BIT OF BACKGROUND ON ST. MARIE AND PATRICK KELLY and WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
Hi, I am Patrick Kelly a native Montanan and a retired Air Force Officer. I am from one of the oldest families in Eastern Montana, in the 1880s my Great Grandfather was the tailor at Fort Buford at the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers. I purchased the housing at the former Glasgow Air Force Base and named it St. Marie. I wanted to provide low cost housing to veterans and retired military personnel and sold over two hundred and twenty homes. If I had stayed at St. Marie every house would be full of good people, the golf course would be in, the swimming pool would be part of the club house, and a convenience store/gas station would be available as well as many other amenities. . (NOTE: The development was a total success, with: a chapel, community center, restaurants, a bowling alley/bar/restaurant; a third of the golf course was completed and the Club House housed offices, a health club, beauty/barber shop, gym and gift shop.)
There were three major reasons why I had to sell St. Marie; the County raised my taxes 1000 percent, yes you read that right, taxes went from $700 a month to $7,000 a month, I had a heart attack and shortly after that lost my beautiful wife. I sold St. Marie in the mid-1990s. Then a year later, because of lack of funding and other factors, the follow-up developer went into bankruptcy.
It is important to remember, St. Marie was a success, and people still want what the community of St. Marie once was; if we work together we can make it better than before.
Utilizing the State of Montana's job multiplier, in selling 223 homes to retirees I and Judy created over 330 jobs for Valley County. We created millions of dollars of taxes for Valley County and the State. If we had stayed we would have created close to 2000 jobs and the tax base today would be over one hundred million dollars; this will also happen with a successful St. Marie.
Instead of a beautiful city, St. Marie has turned into a bombed out trashed community that lacks leadership with vision and no help or encouragement from the city, county, state; or Boeing with their well-advertised Good Neighbor Policy.
The current situation is that the people in leadership roles like being in control and want no change. They want no change even though homes are selling at sheriff sales for a few thousand dollars and nice three bed rooms are selling for little more. As buildings deteriorate further there will be no chance for amenities or growth.
I am in love with St. Marie and the people here, some of my favorite people are in the leadership roles; they have lost vision. We have a small window of opportunity to get back on track and go forward. The first thing that has to happen is for the St. Marie Condominium to receive 100 percent ownership of their property, get good title, and get rid of the liability of co-owning common element with a condominium that is not functioning.
To do this it will cost the St Marie Condo people approximately four dollars a month for five years. As I pointed out to the condo board, if the surveying had been done prior to the bankruptcy it would have cost nothing to contract the size of St. Marie condo, but the reality is that it did not happen prior to the bankruptcy or the ten year period in the declaration. It is a problem that needs to be fixed now by the leadership or they should consider resigning and give the leadership to others who want to go forward.
There is a reality that must be acknowledged. Nothing can go forward until the St. Marie condo is contracted back and they take 100 percent of the property around their units. This is such an overwhelming plus for the St. Marie condo membership. What is going on, what is the alternative? There can be no growth until this happens and the only ones that can do this are the elected officials of the St. Marie Condominium Association. They have someone who is going to work night and day to develop a community they will be proud of and increase the value of their homes fivefold, and give them amenities. They must separate themselves from the North Valley condo (They can make their case to DEQ on the burnt units, but they co-own the common element and they are the only ones with money; and this is only the start). What this leadership is looking at is going to cost the condo member many times the four dollars it is going to cost now. What is their plan and vision for St. Marie if this does not happen? Leadership is not about shingles, it is about security, quality of life, value of homes and community.
The St. Marie Condominium Board can say Terry Parks should have downsized the condo prior to the ten years, or it should have been done before the bankruptcy, but it was not. The only ones that can fix the problem is the elected condo board, the responsibility of others to do this is long past.
We must get a group of people who are positive and want to see St. Marie grow to take control of the situation here at St. Marie; the goal should be to fill every home with quality people. I am committed to towards a beautiful St. Marie with all my resources and need an organized group of people from St. Marie and Glasgow to assist in getting this accomplished.
The easy option would be to go to the internet and sell homes at wholesale and leave. The people who would live in a broken down old air force base in homes that sell for a few thousand dollars would not be the kind of a community where most people would continue to live. That kind of a community is not what I want to leave as my legacy. I will continue to fight for St. Marie, but my time has run out and it must happen now. We have two months to downsize North Valley condo or you are stuck with them forever. The St. Marie condo must get 100 percent of their property first.
Go back up and reread what St. Marie was and what it would be if I had stayed. It can be again, your homes should be worth five times what they are now; as much as those at Fort Peck, they were selling for more than Fort Peck when I was selling homes. When I was here we were a community with pot lucks where everyone came, the Club House was full, and there were no bad feelings among resident. We had fiddler contests, basketball games, health club, and beauty and barber shop. The bowling alley was awesome and golf course was being developed. We even had horse drawn sleigh rides and caroling at Christmas time. We were a happy growing positive community, it can happen again.