By JIM FITZGERALD, Your Turn helenair.com | Posted: Sunday, October 31, 2010
For more than 75 years, children and families have benefited from Intermountain’s ownership of property between 11th and Prospect avenues in Helena.
Having obtained this property in 1937 during a move from the Helena Valley, Intermountain leaders saw an opportunity to lease 9.7 acres of the property for the development of a new mall in the mid 1960s. At the time, this arrangement provided an additional source of income for the children’s home. When we moved to our current campus on Lamborn Street in 1970, we retained ownership of the 9.7 acres and sold the remainder. We have continued to realize revenue from this property through an annual lease of $67,000 with the Capital Hill Mall Partnership.
Currently, Capital Hill Mall Partnership owns all of the buildings on the site and receives all of the rent paid by store tenants. However, Capital Hill Mall Partnership’s property is in foreclosure with a sale postponed from Oct. 18 to Nov. 2 in Helena.
While the $67,000 annual property income represents only a small portion of Intermountain’s total budget, we don’t take this lightly. The worst-case scenario, such as a complete loss of the 9.7 acres, would deprive Intermountain of that rental income in future years, not just the current year. During these difficult economic times, we are strategically looking for ways to recover the valued revenue. Intermountain continues to hope that Capital Hill Mall Partnership will satisfy its bank obligations and prevent the foreclosure.
Regardless of the outcome of this sale, however, Intermountain will continue as one of Montana’s oldest child welfare agencies, directly serving more than 700 children through its residential and community-based programs. Now more than ever, we appreciate our community’s concern and are thankful for your continued support of restoring hope for our most vulnerable children.
Jim FitzGerald is CEO of Intermountain.