MISSOULA, Mont. - As Missoula continues to grow, the city is looking to grow with it and now one part of town is getting another look.
It's an area that many pass through to get in and out of downtown, the West Broadway area between Russell St., California St., Broadway and the Clark Fork River.
The city just released a new draft plan to help guide future development in the area and is looking for feedback.
Right now, apartments, small businesses, vacant buildings and city-owned properties, like Missoula Water and the former Sleepy Inn motel, fill this area.
The plan's big ideas are to build a community center, add commercial space for local businesses, extend and enhance the riverfront trail, add market-rate and affordable housing and develop this area with its own identity as an entry to downtown.
"The vision is that this is a full neighborhood," Annette Marchesseault, project manager with the Missoula Redevelopment Agency, said. "And that the neighborhood has unique character. Some folks during the visioning session in April were saying, you know, maybe this could become the next hip strip, if you will.”
The plan's implementation would take coordinating between the city, private property owners and community. The plan said it prioritizes local business, however, Majestic Madness building owner Tonya Foley-Neuman feels differently.
“The city is buying up most of the things around us and we find that concerning, because we don’t feel like we are a part of their plan," she said. "And maybe we might be, and it might be great, but right now we don’t feel a part of it.“
Her biggest concerns are having enough parking with the added living areas and safety.
She said it feels like city policy prioritizes helping the homeless community over encouraging local business.
Over the years, she's increased security for her business and now keeps both its doors locked and added cameras and alarms because of the transient community walking through the area.
However, she is happy the area is getting looked at and likes the idea of making it a destination rather than just a thoroughfare to downtown.
The plan is available here. Comments are welcome.
There will also be a public input session October 7 at 5:30 p.m. To register, click here.
The vision is that this is a full neighborhood. And that the neighborhood has unique character. Some folks during the visioning session in April were saying, you know, maybe this could become the next hip strip if you will.”