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Butte to develop master plan for Uptown's economic future

Posted at 11:45 AM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 13:45:37-05

BUTTE — Butte’s historic Uptown area is so unique economic leaders are developing a plan to help it thrive into the future.

“There’s nothing else like Uptown, Butte, I mean, you walk out the door of our building, it is the coolest, most unique urban area of anywhere in Montana,” said Butte Local Development Corporation Director Joe Willauer.

Next month, the city will host two public Zoom meetings to get feedback from the public and business owners in the historic district that intersects at Park and Main streets. The city wants to know what it can do to enhance this important area.

“How do we work with landowners and business owners to improve the things that really benefit them, help drive business into Uptown, help attract new business into Uptown,” said Willauer.

Many developers bought historic buildings -- or plan to develop -- in Uptown Butte in 2020. City leaders hope the master plan will promote responsible development in the area.

“Make sure that we keep what was unique and historic about Butte, so it’s not something like, ‘Oh man, we need to do away with everything,’ it’s really an opportunity to say, ‘Gosh, we got all these great historic assets, how do we build upon that legacy'?” said Willauer.

The small businesses in the Uptown District have been some of the hardest hit by the pandemic, so economic leaders are hopeful that this master plan will help them in the recovery.

“We talked to a lot of local business owners in Uptown that people aren’t just walking around like they normally are, so the plan in the long term, as we start getting out of the planning phase and start implementation, those are a lot of the folks that we anticipate these type of things benefiting,” said Willauer.

The master plan is expected to be completed in just over a year. The Zoom meetings will take place on Feb. 10 at 12 p.m. and on Feb. 11 at 7 p.m.