The National Guard Armory on Main Street in Hamilton has been empty since the 2230th Engineering Unit was transferred to Anaconda earlier this year. In such instances, the National Guard offers the local government the first chance to purchase the property.

An earlier agreement with the National Guard has allowed the City of Hamilton to use the land north of the Armory building for years as Claudia Driscoll Park. The council does not want to lose that park and is interested in turning the Armory building into a new city law enforcement and court facility.

The appraisal price for land and building is $1.3 million, according to Mayor Jerry Steele. In order to purchase the property, the city would need to hold a building bond election.

At Tuesday's Council meeting December 6, the council members voted 5-to-1 to hire a bond attorney to help write the proper bond request language for a mail ballot election, which might be held as soon as March 20.

In other city business:
A new cell tower was discussed at the Tuesday meeting. The council authorized Digital Skyline company to request a conditional use permit from the Zoning Board of Adjustment to build a 60-foot cell tower on the northeast edge of Riverview Cemetery, which is west of the Bitterroot River bridge.

The tower would be what is called an "evergreen" design to blend in with other trees in the construction area. The company had earlier requested a cell tower at the Haynes football field. That plan was abandoned. This proposed tower would take its place.

The Hamilton council also heard about problems of a burgeoning "free range" rabbit population in the city limits. The Church of God on North 2nd Street asked for help in eliminating some of the rabbits, which are ruining their landscape and digging holes which are dangerous to pedestrians. A committee will consider the problem.