Kalispell Parkline Construction Planned for Summer

Trail project is on track for next year; city is seeking proposals for downtown parking lot redevelopment

By Maggie Dresser
Kalispell City Hall. Beacon file photo

The Kalispell Core and Rail Redevelopment Project is moving forward with the Kalispell Parkline trail design in its final stages, project bidding scheduled for this winter and construction planned for next summer, officials said at the city work session on Dec. 14.

The Kalispell Parkline has 90% of its design work completed, while the Montana Department of Transportation approved U.S. Highway 93 road crossings and is currently working with the city for a free lease agreement on the east trailhead, Kalispell Development Services Director Jarod Nygren said.

“Everything’s trucking along,” Nygren said.

The City of Kalispell is also looking to formally designate the trail as a city park. The trail is often described as a “linear park through town,” and an official designation would be regulated with the same rules and maintenance as other city parks.

Separately, the city is also working with the Kalispell Business Improvement District and the Kalispell Downtown Association to set design standards for the downtown historic district after the partners secured a matching grant to hire a consultant.

After working with the community on the district’s ultimate goals, a design standard could potentially become an ordinance in the spring if it’s approved by city council.

City officials sent a survey to 148 property owners in the district, with most respondents supporting the standards.

“It was pretty clear, the vast majority of respondents said that the downtown historic district is special and it’s a valuable asset,” Rachel Ezell, a Kalispell city planner, said. “The downtown plan and growth policy both address the need for some kind of design standards for this historic district.”

While most respondents support the project, Ezell says there are concerns about costs to property owners and the loss of architectural creativity.

Additionally, the City of Kalispell is seeking proposals to redevelop the Third and Main Street parking lot, which is often inaccurately referred to as the Valley Bank parking lot, although it’s owned by the city.

The space is a newly designated Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District and city officials hope to promote economic growth in the space.

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