KALISPELL – The City of Kalispell is another step closer in their goal of transforming the heart of the city with the selection of a design team for their new pedestrian trail and linear park.
The City Council selected Alta Planning and Design and KLJ Engineers to design and construct the new trail and linear park that will stretch from the overpass on Highway 2 all the way to Meridian.
The rail line once served 30 or more businesses but today it serves just two: C-H-S, Cenex Harvest States, a Fortune 100 company, and Northwest Drywall. Both are currently in the process of relocating to the new Glacier Rail Park, a rail-served industrial park under construction on the northeast edge of the city.
In late-March, Flathead County Economic Development Authority announced they signed definitive agreements with CHS to allow them to begin that relocation process.
They have until November of 2019 to completely relocate to the rail park. Once that happens the city can begin the process of abandoning the tracks.
Removal of the tracks is likely to begin in spring of 2020 but before that Kalispell city leaders will begin community outreach as the design for the trail and linear park begins.
"Maybe some art, maybe some community groups will want to make some donations and build a splash park or some historical signage about what used to be in Kalispell 100 years ago in this location. The sky is the limit," said Kimberly Morisaki the Director of Business Development and Marketing at Montana West Economic Development.
Additional new development in the Kalispell Core Area is expected once the rail is removed and the new pedestrian trail and linear park are constructed.
The project was first launched in 2012 and is partially funded by a $10 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant from the US Department of Transportation.