Kalispell City Council to vote on growth policy update

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The final draft of the Kalispell Growth Policy Update, Plan It 2035, will go before Kalispell City Council tonight for a vote.

The Growth Policy outlines development goals and plans for future growth in Kalispell over the next 20 years and will update the current 2020 growth plan.

Major topics included in the 2035 update include the Core Area Plan consisting of an industrial rail park and a series of trails through the downtown core area, the Downtown Plan that addresses the problems and potential of historical Downtown Kalispell and the South Kalispell Urban Renewal Plan that will look at the future of residential and commercial areas surrounding the Kalispell City Airport.

The growth policy also addresses the Kalispell Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan, which compiles an inventory of the city’s non-motorized paths, and the Kalispell Transportation Plan Update that will include the bypass and other roadways implemented since the last update in 2008.

Public comments are usually limited to three to five minutes each.

A copy of the full Kalispell Growth Policy: Plan It 2035 can be found at http://kalispell.com/mayor_and_city_council/documents/H.GPPublicHearing.pdf.

IN OTHER business, council will hear a first reading of the proposed Planned Unit Development for the Glacier Rail Park scheduled to begin construction this fall.

The rail park will consist of a 40-acre property with rail access to serve rail-reliant businesses once the downtown railroad tracks are removed to make way for the Core Area trail system and businesses.

The park will create 20 business lots on the east side of Whitefish Stage Road, north of East Oregon Street and west of East Oregon Lane.

Development of the park will include upgrading several roads to meet city of Kalispell road standards, installing storm-water collection and disposal, extending city water and sewer service, adding a signaled intersection, providing dry utilities (gas, electricity, etc.) and construction of various railroads.

Council will also hold a public hearing to discuss the preliminary city budget for fiscal year 2018.

According to the preliminary budget released by the city manager, the city has proposed an $80 million budget for the coming year, a 17.6 percent increase from the $68 million budget for 2017.

Much of the increase is due to a $22 million TIGER grant awarded to the city, putting more focus and spending into major projects such as the Fourth Avenue East reconstruction, construction of a section of the Westside Sewer Interceptor, creation of the new railway park and the redevelopment of the CORE area.

For a detailed outline of the preliminary budget, to see plans for the Glacier Rail Park and the Kalispell Core Area or for more information on Kalispell City Council meetings and agendas, visit kalispell.com.

Reporter Mary Cloud Taylor can be reached at 758-4459 or mtaylor@dailyinterlake.com.

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