MISSOULA — It's been two years of ideas, and a year of intense discussion and brainstorming, and now Missoula's new Downtown Master Plan is ready to be put into action.
It's a plan which will set the framework of how the downtown -- and its specific neighborhoods and features, will develop and change over the next decade.
It seems like Missoula has always been about change but certainly that's really been true since the last Downtown Master Plan was polished off a decade ago.
Now it's time to incorporate not only the change, but adjust the vision for the next 10 years.
"This is the final presentation of the final plan and we have a number of different meetings scheduled. So we are looking at the adoption process at this point in time," Downtown Missoula Partnership executive director Linda McCarthy.
"It is a multi-agency adoption process unlike other plans. We'll ask several organizations and agencies to adopt and endorse the plan," she added.
The Downtown Partnership, business and government leaders, and interested members of the public have produced a plan which carries forward some on-going challenges, such as parking and traffic.
It also reflects how to blend the Garden City's legacy with the new, and broadening the focus beyond the "one postcard street" -- Higgins -- to expand that vibrancy through the downtown.
"We've had almost 4,000 individuals participate in this planning process over the course of the last year," McCarthy told MTN News.
"Dover-Cole has done a great job of engaging and welcoming people to the table, listening, incorporating ideas that people have brought forth into the plan. I think everybody likes the majority of it. You know, not everybody gets a 100-percent of what they want, but it's a compromise."
While the new Downtown Master Plan does include a lot of details, things like design standards, there are also a lot of general guidelines and concepts. Things the city can use as a road map, if you will, to work on the development of this important district in the years to come.
"It is a 30,000 foot view for downtown. And so there's still a lot of work that will happen on the ground floor over the next ten years to see it get implemented," McCarthy said.
"And it's possible not everything gets implemented. And it's possible not everything gets implemented. The last time around it was about 70% of what's in the plan got implemented," she continued.
Dover, Kohl & Partners will be in Missoula Sept. 17-20 to present the final plan for adoption, as well as conduct additional outreach for planning the north riverside parks and trails between California Street and Missoula College.
We'll have more information as those dates approach. Click here to view the new Downtown Missoula Master Plan.