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Butte is poised to secure a proper resolution of the final Superfund cleanup and restoration of the Butte Hill and the Silver Bow Creek corridor. Fortunately, the right organizations and groups of people are finally working together, pulling in the same direction on the cleanup and restoration of the upper Silver Bow Creek corridor. Butte-Silver Bow government, Atlantic Richfield, EPA, State of Montana, and a broad range of Butte citizens and organizations, including those involved in the Restore Our Creek Coalition (ROCC), see good things happening and are more than hopeful that even greater things will appear as the process continues.

First, the Consent Decree parties agreed to the removal of buried tailings, an important first step to the return to a free-flowing meandering Silver Bow Creek that residents have identified as an essential result of the cleanup. This agreement in principle is a quality start and we support its elements.

But it’s important that this good start be better for Butte. As members of Restore Our Creek Coalition (ROCC), we see these groups coming together in determining a proper future end use of the Silver Bow Creek corridor. Without question, everyone is hearing loud and clear that Butte is united and insistent the first mile of Silver Bow Creek be designed and built.

Just recently, Butte-Silver Bow conducted a design workshop asking community participants to offer ideas and plans on the end use of the corridor. Another workshop is scheduled for August 30 to review the results. Like the workshops we at ROCC conducted two years ago, the BSB workshops revealed ideas for end use, including playgrounds, skating parks, sculpture parks, an amphitheater and more. All are great ideas.

The need to make the corridor truly “green” is supported by all participants. The prevalent theme that continues to ring true from each forum and workshop and on the streets of Butte is that our community expects a meandering Silver Bow Creek with flowing water throughout the corridor east of Montana Street. Silver Bow Creek holds the key to making this important, highly visible and accessible corridor green, attractive and useful for locals and visitors alike – something the community can use and look at with pride.

It’s time for the responsible parties to step up to the plate and make it happen by committing to both designing and building the creek.

The good work of the parties getting waste out of waters’ way is commendable, but it’s unequivocally not enough. The design and building of Silver Bow Creek is one of the last necessary steps to having a successful cleanup of Butte.

Butte is fortunate to have the right mix of organizations and people now. The Restore Our Creek Coalition is happy to continue in that collective effort. Now let’s make sure that the job gets finished and re-establishes the first mile of Silver Bow Creek within the corridor east of the confluence near Montana Street. Butte is headed in the right direction.

Northey Tretheway, Sister Mary Jo McDonald, Bill MacGregor, Jocelyn Dodge, Ed Simonich, Mary Kay Craig, Doug Coe, Larry Curran and Evan Barrett are all members of the Restore Our Creek Coalition.

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