ANACONDA — The ceremonial groundbreaking for a $10 million hotel on a windy day in Anaconda is the first step in bringing about economic recovery to a city that was devastated by contamination and the loss of industry.
“We’ve waited 40 years for this to happen, we need to get the deal done,” said Anaconda Chief Executive Bill Everett.
The deal was reached in an EPA-led consent decree that outlined an agreement that the Atlantic-Richfield Co. would pay for the hotel, a $3 million RV park, and $2 million in renovations to the Old Works Golf Course.
“We pushed the EPA, we said ‘we’re tired of more studies, we want to see a result’ and we finally got it last month and because of that we’re here today with new hope for Anaconda,” said U.S. Sen. Steve Daines.
The hotel is being built off Montana Highway 1 and will also be the new location of long-time Anaconda restaurant Barclay’s II.
Everett said the hotel will be important to the Smelter City’s tourism industry that often had no place to stay.
“So they’d come, spend a few hours and leave. Now we can make it more of a weekend or multi-day event, plus we’ve got a beautiful ski hill, hopefully it helps the ski hill as well,” said Everett.
Cleaning up the contamination left by the smelter was just the first phase; now they’re entering into the phase of creating economic development to help Anaconda move forward.
“When Atlantic-Richfield left our community, we had a huge void of a tax base and these projects here will help reestablish the tax base,” said Everett.