Second Natural Gas Open House is Thursday

The Tongue River Valley Joint Powers Board will have a meeting in Ranchester Thursday on the board's plans to bring natural gas to the Dayton-Ranchester area.

The meeting will start at 6 p.m. in the Tongue River Community Center, and is the second open house this week. Ranchester Mayor Peter Clark, who's chairman of the joint powers board, said more than 100 people attended an open house held Tuesday night in Dayton.

The event is part of the board's preparation of a feasibility study to secure natural gas service to the communities, including the schools, in place of the propane gas presently being used for heating. Mayor Clark said the board received a $100,000 grant from the State Loan and Investment Board to fund the study. He said a preliminary draft of the study should be ready for presentation to the SLIB some time in the next couple of weeks.

He said the joint powers board is currently considering four potential routes. The board is working on arrangements with Montana-Dakota Utilities to provide the gas, and the total project cost is estimated at around $3.8 million.