New program aims to revitalize Uptown Butte


New program aims to revitalize Uptown Butte 5-1-2013

BUTTE, Mont. - "Not only were they buying a condo, they were buying a piece of history," said Ron Ueland, one of the condo owners in the Metals Bank Building.

He helped renovate the historic structure in Uptown Butte. Condos fill the upper floors, and a popular restaurant sits on the main floor.

The Metals Building has been back to it's former glory for quite some time, but many other uptown buildings sit empty and boarded up with no plans for a new life. A new program aims to change that.

"It's called Action/2020," said Jim Smitham, Executive Director of the Butte Local Development Corporation (BLDC).

The BDLC organized Action/2020, and Smitham said they hope to implement ways to bring new development and tourism to Uptown.

The plan includes seven categories that each have their own committee. Each committee will focus on their specific area -- from bringing in business and retail, to historic preservation.

"Residential development -- and that one has really taken off," Smitham said, of one of the areas they're focusing on.

He said they've already made headway in some areas like resident development, and plan to move forward on others-- like marketing and promotion.

Smitham hopes Action/2020 will spark real change for Uptown. So does Ueland, who said he wants visitors and residents to enjoy the area just like they did over a hundred years ago -- and now with the Metals Bank Building.

"Why not get more people just to enjoy this great experience?" he asked, adding he hopes they can "really build this again as one of the really unique spots in America."

Smitham said when the program takes off, they plan to bring that model to other areas of town and help make Butte flourish once again.

Action/2020 needs Butte locals to help out, by joining one of the committees and giving their input. Anyone who wants to get involved can call the Butte Chamber of Commerce at 723-3177.

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