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Butte Copper King Hotel receives funding boost

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BUTTE, Mont. - Workers are finishing up the Copper King Hotel in Butte for its May 1 opening, but the project almost hit a snag because of cost overruns.

"Sometimes there are overruns that are not planned, because you cannot see behind the walls until you start doing construction and finding things," said Copper King Hotel general manager Tom Hagreen.

The Butte Council of Commissioners granted the hotel $200,000 in a 6-5 vote. The funding comes from an account called the Hard Rock Mine Trust. It collected money from operational mines in Butte before 2000, and now the money is to be used for things like attracting new industry.

"The funds were needed to do upgrades, to make sure to meet fire code, to make sure the property had current technology, and there was some behind-the-scenes repairs that were unplanned, and that is what led to some of the additional funds that were needed," he added.

Businesses we talked to Thursday agree that finishing the hotel will help increase revenue for all.

"I think it will increase our traffic flow. It's right across from the hotel, so people leaving or coming in will fill their cars up or get a snack or pop," said Thriftway manager Mark Hodges.

"If we went to bid on a wrestling tournament, it is almost imperative to have a host hotel that has convention capabilities, and that will help us when it comes time to bid on such events," said Civic Center general manager Bill Melvin.

In addition to benefiting surrounding businesses the completion of the hotel will help with jobs in the Butte area.

"In our full operations and hotel and restaurant we anticipate about 80 to 90 people employed," Hagreen said.

Thanks to the extra funds, the Copper King Hotel project can be finished on time.

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