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First Interstate Bank to relocate next to Shopko in Hardin

Plat submitted to City-County Planning Board
Thursday, October 18, 2018
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Photo by Carl Danelski

Employees from Allied Engineering Services Inc. perform geotechnical exploration Monday in Hardin. A geotechnical survey and several other qualifications must be met before the proposed relocation of First Interstate Bank passes city approval.

A planned subdivision of Lot 2A, which lies between Center Avenue and Lessard Avenue in downtown Hardin, will be the new location of Hardin’s First Interstate Bank, pending final approval.

Before a City-County Planning Board meeting held Tuesday, Oct. 9, Stephanie Ray, a land planner representing CTA Architects Engineers and also the applicant proposing the subsequent minor subdivision, presented an amended plat for the commerce subdivision. “The proposal is to do a one-lot subdivision of 1.69 acres,” she said.

The lot, currently zoned C1 business district, is owned by Bighorn Valley Health Center. The building plan, submitted as part of the plat, locates the new bank approximately 120 feet back from the road frontage with Center Avenue. In addition, the currently-nonexistent portion of 11th Street, east of Center Avenue, would be extended 385 feet in order to allow vehicle access the parking lot, drive-thru ATM and bank teller lanes.

Regarding the rest of 11th Street between the new bank and Lessard Avenue, the plat includes the following quote from a 2009 Hardin Growth Policy: “In Hardin, the major deficiency in the local street system is that the city has accepted a number of public streets without complete paving or curb, gutter and sidewalk improvements. The city should require performance bonding to ensure completion of uncompleted streets and sidewalk infrastructure prior to the filing of the final subdivision plat.”

In order to deal with drainage, two detention ponds are proposed in the plan. One pond would be located along Center Avenue between the road and the main parking lot, and the other pond would be on the east side of the lot, between the drive-thru access and the remaining undeveloped Lot 2A.

There will be two vehicle accesses along 11th Street, one for parking in front of the bank and one for the drive-thru behind the bank, which would be the further of the two. A third access will be located along Center Avenue, north of 11th, and will allow a flow of traffic leaving the drive-thru.

According to a letter from Appraiser Virginia Dooley, “Based on a oneacre commercial property in Hardin: the land value would be approximately $91,000, and on an estimated $500,000 in improvements, the tax bill would be approximately $7,658 annually. This would only be the general tax, not including city or county fees like SWCD, street maintenance, lighting districts, etc.”

Ray and fellow CTA engineer Ron Isackson fielded questions on turning lanes and possible issues with drainage during the meeting.

“A geotech is supposed to be out there soon,” Isackson said. “We have a couple solutions we’re working on right now – either a pipeand-ditch solution to get to the 10th Street ditch, or an alternative would be an underground ejection well, where you let storm water inject into the aquifer. It would go through a treatment system, so water quality would be good.”

Regarding turning lanes and sidewalk access, Isackson added, “The section for 11th Street is going to match the existing section on the opposite side of Center Avenue. There won’t be a sidewalk on the south side of 11th, because it is not necessary.”

Anyone wishing to walk east on the new section of 11th would have to do so on the north side of the street rather than the Shopko side.

According to the plat, “A five-foot sidewalk will be constructed on the north side of 11th Street along the property frontage. Additional sidewalks within the subdivision, parking lot and entryways will be required. ADA accessible ramps will be included at driveway and street intersections.”

The current total estimated cost for the project is $728,977.50.

In a statement, Vice President and Marketing Manager for First Interstate Bank Sara Becker stated, “The bank has been a part of the Hardin community for a long time, and we’re pleased to reaffirm our commitment to serving the community with a new building. It’s important to us that we meet the needs of our current and future clients, so we’ve been exploring the option of relocation for some time. The board has been supportive of establishing a new location in Hardin and approved the land acquisition as part of the 2018 budget.”

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