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2014 Parks and Trails Bond

In November 2014 Missoula County voters will be asked to pass a $42 million, 20 year general obligation bond to improve local parks, playgrounds, trails, and sports fields. 

Benefits

Supporters expect Missoula County residents to experience quality of life, health, and economic benefits as a result of the improvements:

Quality of Life Benefits

Outside magazine recently named Missoula as one of 16 Best Places to Live in America, due to our many outdoor recreational opportunities. Enhancing our recreation facilities will allow us to maintain and build upon this strength.

Health Benefits

Upgraded recreation facilities will give residents greater opportunities for active recreation.  Studies indicate that active children and adults are more self-confident, less likely to be overweight, and do better in school and work.  Spontaneous outdoor play is highly beneficial to child development, and active recreation tends to decrease participants’ healthcare costs.

Economic Benefits

Over 3 million people visit Missoula each year.  Improving our recreation facilities will increase Missoula’s profile as a tourism and sports tournament destination, enticing more visitors to spend their time and money with local businesses.  These improvements may also help Missoula to attract and retain skilled workers and high paying jobs.   

What would the bond fund?

Fort Missoula Regional Park                                 

Market analysis indicates that Missoula does not have enough sports fields to meet community demand.  Developing Fort Missoula Regional Park will allow Missoula to host major sports events and tournaments, benefiting local businesses.  Bond supporters’ data suggests the park could bring in $1 million of visitor spending per tournament weekend.  The park will also attract seasonal tourists and give residents greater recreational opportunities.

Fort Missoula Regional Park will have trails, playgrounds, open space, eleven sports fields, seven softball fields, and other amenities.  A detailed plan is available here.

Total annual maintenance costs are anticipated to exceed revenues by $355,000. This cost is not provided for in the Parks and Trails Bond.  Maintenance funds are likely to be at least partially funded by the city and county.

County trails

Missoula County’s trail system has long been recognized as an important driver of quality of life, providing a means for active transportation and recreation.  According to supporters’ polling data, nearly two-thirds of residents use trails at least occasionally.  Also, trails bring tourists to communities and trail users spend more than average visitors.

The funds will be used to create new trails, link communities by trail, and establish a maintenance program to serve current and future trails.  It is anticipated that the $3 million can be used to leverage up to $15 million in external public and private funding.

City parks and playgrounds

According to supporters’ polling data, 68% of Missoula households frequently visit our 400 acres of local parks and playgrounds.  The bond would fund safety, accessibility, and other improvements to eleven aging city parks and playgrounds.  Seven playgrounds are to be entirely replaced. Bond funding is needed to replace these playgrounds as the City Parks and Recreation Department’s budget does not include funds for replacing these assets. 

Cost to Taxpayers

The bond will be levied on taxable Missoula County property for a period of 20 years.

For more information: Citizens for Parks and Trails