By Michael Howell
The Stevensville Town Council agreed unanimously to apply for a grant from the Department of Commerce’s Big Sky Trust Fund to help start up a new business in town that may create 40 new jobs over the next few years. The jobs will pay $14.43 per hour minimum. The business is called B. E. Forest Products and will produce a treated facia product out of softwood. The owners of the new business, Lindsy and Nathan Bean, are required to match the $300,000 grant 3 to 1 with their own dollars. Due to the costs involved in the project the owners will be putting up much more than the required match, however.
The money will be used to lease and purchase the equipment and facility and will be located in the Tax Increment Financing District next to the Selway Corporation. The Ravalli County Economic Development Authority, according to Director Julie Foster, will prepare the application and prepare the quarterly reports required for the grant. The Town of Stevensville will simply serve as the required pass-through entity to handle the grant funds.
According to Bean, the facility will produce a treated facia product made from softwood. The treatment is water based and will not involve hazardous chemicals. The company is partnering with Arch Chemicals and Sherwin Williams who will provide the treatment chemicals. According to Bean, this will be the only company in the world that is providing wood products with this type of treatment.