Miles City Star: Tester checks in on Miles City

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester spent the afternoon in Miles City Friday, visiting with students and touring the block devastated by the downtown fire two years ago.

Tester started the day at an assembly at Washington Middle School, followed by a trip to the Miles City Fire Department. He ended the afternoon with a question-and-answer session at the Main Street Grind.

“I always enjoy visiting Miles City,” Tester said. “Miles City is impressive; it’s always resilient. To get this place (Main Street Grind) up and running a year after the fire shows the kind of commitment that business people have to the future of the town. It’s just a lot of fun to be here.”

A group of about 15 people attended the Q & A session, with a mixture of local government officials and concerned businessmen. Tester answered questions for almost an hour, touching on topics ranging from the sewer line project to infrastructure issues to rural development.

“The money needed for these projects is hard to come by in Washington, D.C., but we’re going to see what we can do,” Tester said. “But the fact is there are some good things going on, things that are moving the economy forward. We just have to look at what’s going on in this part of the state and build upon what’s working, and try to make what isn’t working work.”

Mike Coryell, executive director of the Miles City Area Economic Development Council, stressed the importance of an improved infrastructure to the senator, and the dangers of cutting funding to programs such as the Treasure State Endowment Program and the Community Development Block Grant Program.

“We can’t afford to build or replace water lines, sewer lines, roads, etc. without that funding,” Coryell said. “While I know there has to be cuts, I just hope that is taken into account.”

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