Kalispell group to look at neighborhood issues

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After surveying 288 homeowners near Flathead High School about their neighborhood’s strengths and challenges, the city of Kalispell will hold a meeting later this month on the responses.

Sixty-two people returned mail surveys and 26 said they would be interested in starting a group to try to work through some of the neighborhood’s issues.

A meeting at the school later this month will include city and school officials. A date has not been set but will be announced shortly. Two days being considered are March 21 and March 28.

“The purpose of that meeting is to bring everyone into a room to talk about how we got here, where we see this going and developing a sort of neighborhood steering committee that would have people from the school and city involved,” Kalispell Planning Director Tom Jentz said.

Some residents reached out to Kalispell and Flathead High School officials with complaints about things such as loud music, smoking in the alleys, garbage, traffic and parking.

Kalispell staffers realized solutions to some of those complaints would require getting the neighborhood involved, so they surveyed property owners to see what if any concerns are widely shared.

“We will go over the responses and concerns and hopefully select the top issue and start working on it,” Jentz said.

In addition to a busy high school with more than 1,500 students, the neighborhood also has a higher percentage of rental properties than other parts of Kalispell. Forty-three percent of the homes are rentals.

People who live in the neighborhood but did not receive or return a survey are welcome to attend the upcoming meeting. 

But the city is looking to bring together people who want to identify problems and work for solutions, not gripe or point fingers.

“This is a solution-oriented committee, a committee to form bridges and start addressing some of the concerns. We’re looking for people with open minds and broad views who want to dig in and try to bring broad solutions to the table,” Jentz said.

Reporter Tom Lotshaw may be reached at 758-4483 or by email at tlotshaw@dailyinterlake.com.

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