KALISPELL – City leaders say the Kalispell Trail is a key piece to a transportation network through the community as they develop plans and trail designs for the city’s core.
Kalispell City Planning Director Tom Jentz shared progress on the designs of the trail that will soon replace the railroad tracks that currently run through the center of Kalispell at a Kalispell Chamber luncheon Tuesday.
He says the 1½-mile trail will start by the US Highway 2 Bridge and go through before connecting with the Meridian Trail that goes to Kila, Somers and up north along the bypass.
Earlier this year more than 600 people attended the open houses, workshops and meetings during the Kalispell Trail Deep Dive event with railroad car tours of the downtown area along the rail.
Jentz says community involvement in the whole process will help them design different sections of the trail with development opportunities to open up as soon as the tracks are gone.
“Through the spring as we come up with final designs we constantly look for feedback. This is the community’s trail. It’s not our trail, it’s for everyone,” Jentz said.
“Our goal is to get as many ideas on the page as possible. We are not going to build everything that is being proposed,” he added. “There are a lot of dreams out there a lot that is being proposed but this is also an opportunity for the community to come forward.”
A final design for the trail is hoped for by early 2019 and Jentz says they hope to break ground on the trail in spring of 2020.
The project was first launched in 2012 and partially funded by a $10 million grant from the US Department of Transportation. Earlier phases of the project were completed last week involved the grand opening of the Glacier Rail Park.