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DeSmet School official reacts to city annexation

Posted at 5:56 PM, Dec 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-11 20:02:37-05

MISSOULA – On Monday, the Missoula City Council approved the annexation of property around the Missoula International Airport, including the area around DeSmet School.

School officials have voiced their displeasure with the annexation, saying it will lead to more industrial development which could stunt the school’s growth or shut it down all together.  

Principal Matthew Driessen says what the area really needs is more community development.

“Are we going to have collaborative community development that’s going to create opportunities for everybody here in Missoula?” said DeSmet School principal Matthew Driessen. “So we have to figure out how to develop this area so it’s a benefit for everybody.”

‘Benefits for everybody’ might mean finding some common ground between all the parties interested in the area. For DeSmet School that means less industrial development and more residential development along with community essentials, like a grocery store.

To find the perfect amount of compromise, Driessen suggests that everyone get together to have this discussion

“It’s just a matter of all the people sitting down and having this discussion and how this is going to look, how this is going to feel. It’s more complicated that just ‘we annexed it and this is good.’ It’s a marriage now, we have to figure out how we are going to get along,” Driessen said.

And the school will be figuring out how to get along with a new roster of players.

“The players have changed. So we went from meeting with the county, and I had a very good relationship with the county,” Driessen said. “We were working out all the different issues around here with community development to now working with the city.”

First impressions with the city have been good so far.

“I have a good relationship with our two new ward members, Jordan Hess and Mirtha Becerra,” Driessen said.  “They’ve both come out here to visit we’ve all met we are all looking forward to continuing the relationship that we have going forward.” 

RELATED: City of Missoula to move ahead with annexation plans