Treasure State Acres boasts one of Montana's best displays of Christmas tree lights.
TSA hosts one of Helena's two LDS meetinghouses, as well as one of Montana's two LDS temples.
TSA's park is one of the largest and most used in the county.
Treasure State Acres sits just north of Helena, Montana's city limits -- and just off Montana Avenue -- and is home to about 350 residences. It is a quiet neighborhood, yet close to Helena's fastest-growing commercial district, which includes Target, Winco Foods, Murdoch's, Albertson's, Lowe's, Home Depot and many other retail outlets. The subdivision is home to one of the state's two LDS temples. (The photo of the temple above was taken during the Fourth of July fireworks show that takes place in the TSA Park just to the east of the temple.)
TSA boasts its own sewer and water district, as well as a large park that includes a children's playground.
At Christmas-time, visitors from around the region drive through Treasure State Acres to see the spectacular Christmas lights with which residents have bedecked their homes, and the luminaries they have set along the streets. Another big attraction on Christmas Eve is the Nativity display at the LDS property located near the entrance to TSA. People who come to see the display donate thousands of pounds of food to the local food bank.
TSA has new snowplower for this winter season
Mike Cote, who lives in Treasure State Acres, will be plowing our streets this winter. That should be a real plus as he will be able to see first-hand the snow conditions we have, and he can jump right in when snow plowing is needed. At the same time, we expect to be able to be in close contact with Mike to deal with any special conditions that arise.
Mike has extensive experience. He has plowed roads for many years for the state and as a private contractor.
We’re hoping – and expecting – that Mike will help us get past some of the plowing problems we’ve had in the past. Most of you will remember, for example, a few years back when we had a series of bad storms that dumped a lot of snow on the valley, and the firm that was supposed to plow TSA didn’t show up for days on end. It also wasn’t answering our calls. Apparently it had signed up with too many customers and just couldn’t meet the demand. We finally sought out other plowers – most everyone was completely booked – until we eventually found help.
After that experience, we lined up a more reliable plowing outfit, but it then ran afoul of the county’s accounting rules. So once again we were in the hunt for a new plower.
Just FYI, you should know that, as a subdivision, we can’t hire just anyone who has a plow on their truck. Our plowers are paid through our county-administered RID fund, and so plowers must meet financial rules and other conditions set forth by the county. And in recent years the number of those qualified to be on the county’s plowers’ list has shrunk. An additional complication is that plowers usually contract with businesses, which have first dibs on any plowing that’s done when snow hits.
Calob Marquis of the county road department helped us get set up with Mike, who will be able to call on his brother for assistance with plowing if needed.
Calob also has helped us develop a new strategy for plowing that we’ll try this winter. In the past, we’ve generally given our plowers this guideline: Start plowing when we’ve gotten 3 to 4 inches of snow. (obviously, that often didn’t happen for a variety of reasons, one being that our plowers got tied up handling business customers first). Mike Cote doesn’t have many business customers, so we don’t think that will be a problem.
Our new strategy will be to try to start plowing what generally seem to be the most heavily used streets (Bobcat, Bighorn, Beaverhead, Pondera, Buffalo, Cougar) after we get 2 or so inches of snow. The attached map shows those routes. The other streets will remain will remain at 4 inches. The idea is to make more of an effort to keep streets from getting packed down with snow and ice – and inevitably rutty and then mushy.
Now, these guidelines won’t necessarily be hard and fast rules. Say, for example, that weather forecasters predict that the Helena Valley will get 8 inches of snow in 24 hours, but 4 inches will come early in the day and 4 inches will fall later in the day. Will we want to rush right out after 4 inches have fallen and plow the entire subdivision? Probably not. We might just plow our most heavily used roads early on, then come back and do everything after all the predicted snow has fallen. In other words, we’d play things by ear in order to use our RID funds responsibly.
Mike’s fees, by the way, are $135 an hour – among the most economical rates on the county’s list. (There’s an additional charge for such things as sanding at corners.)
In the past, we’ve gotten complaints from some TSA residents who don’t like the fact that plowers have left a berm along the sides of the streets that blocked, to some degree, their driveways or sidewalks. Unfortunately, we don’t see a way to get around this. To have our plowers stop and push the berms away from everyone’s driveways would push our plowing costs through the roof.
We do realize that, especially when we get heavy snows, shoveling these berms can be a hardship for folks who are elderly or disabled. If you have a neighbor who needs help, consider pitching in. It’s good exercise.
Mike Cote also says he could return -- once he’s done with regular plowing chores -- and plow away berms from individual driveways for a fee. He can be reached at 406-431-6144.
During the last storm, Mike A., who lives on Mustang, posted on Facebook that he can help people with shoveling. You can text him at 406-581-8664. Others, such as Little Lawn Guy (406-788-8032), also provide this service.
If you have questions or concerns, let me know. Or if you want to work out a special plowing plan with Mike in advance, you can reach him at the number above.
--- Steve Shirley
Get copies of Nov. 6 HOA meeting minutes, and more:
The minutes for our Nov. 6 HOA meeting will soon be posted on our "Reports & Documents" page. (Thanks to the LDS Church for letting us use their meeting room, by the way!)
If you haven't paid your 2023 TSA dues, please send a check for $25 to treasurer Terry Atwood, 4230 Wolverine Dr., Helena, MT 59602 (Make out to TSA Homeowners Association). These funds pay such costs as legal expenses & the annual Christmas luminarias display.
We’ve gotten complaints about weeds as well as bushes and shrubs at street intersections. Please keep weeds in your yard under control, and if you are pruning in your yard, pare back any shrubs or bushes you have that may block the vision of motorists on street intersections. Our covenants require it.
On the Fourth of July holiday, county rules allow fireworks in county parks such as the TSA park between the hours of 8 a.m. and 1 a.m. from July 2 to July 6.
Violations of the county ordinance can be punished by a fine of up to $500. You can find a copy of the complete ordinance at this link. By the way, the HOA doesn't have the ability to enforce violations of the county ordinance. That's up to the county.
Meanwhile, we urge fireworks users to be courteous to neighbors in terms of when and how they discharge fireworks and to clean up their debris.
If you have a question on a TSA matter, have a suggestion for this web site, or want to get on our email list, let us know at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks & have a great holiday season.