The Kalispell City Council approved the purchase of a permanent easement from the state of Montana for Kidsports Complex using tax increment financing funds.
In the final meeting of the year inside City Hall, the council voted 6-3 Monday night to approve the resolution authorizing the payment of $2.26 million from the Airport/Athletic Complex TIF District to the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. Mayor Tammi Fisher and councilors Kari Gabriel and Bob Hafferman voted against the resolution due to their opposition of using only TIF funds for the payment.
The easement purchase will forever cement the popular youth sports complex in its current location on state-owned school trust land in north Kalispell. It will also allow the nonprofit Kidsports organization to raise separate funds to pay for upgrades and additions at the site, including the completion of Four Mile Drive and new fields and parking.
“It really feels good to be going out on the end of the year with a great accomplishment like this,” Councilor Tim Kluesner said.
The city will notify DNRC this week about the purchase agreement with the goal of avoiding additional option fees due January. The city is also still negotiating a memo of understanding with the Kidsports organization detailing the terms of the agreement following the purchase. City Manager Doug Russell said he would present an agreement to council for approval at a later date.
Kidsports president Dan Johns has said the organization will match “dollar for dollar” what the city pays for the easement, and that money will go toward identified priorities like additional parking and access.
“(Kidsports is) a personal passion. It has been for quite some time,” Johns said.
Councilors commended Johns for his steadfast devotion to Kidsports over the years. Johns thanked city staff and council for working hard on the permanent easement purchase agreement and for continuing a long-standing partnership between the city of Kalispell and Kidsports.
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