Kalispell approves new growth policy

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After more than 60 meetings, work sessions and public hearings, the Kalispell Growth Policy will now reflect the most recent update, Plan It 2035, following its approval from Kalispell City Council on Monday evening.

The updated Growth Policy outlines development goals and plans for future growth in Kalispell over the next 20 years, updating the former 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 Core Area Plan project will provide for the construction of the Glacier Rail Park, allowing for the removal of the downtown railroad tracks. Removing the tracks from downtown will then make way for a Business Core Area in Downtown Kalispell that will affect 45 property ownerships, raising property value and encouraging development and redevelopment of the area.

Plans for this space include a network of walking/biking trails, commercial space and multifamily housing in an area bounded on the north by the center line of U.S. 2 (Idaho Street), on the west by the center line of Fifth Avenue West North, on the south by the center line of West Center Street and on the east by the center line of U.S. 93 (Main Street).

The Downtown Plan will address the function and goals for downtown, specifically Main Street and the couplet around the courthouse. Future plans for the area could potentially include the change of the four-lane road into a three-lane in order to discourage high traffic volumes and make the area more pedestrian friendly.

The Urban Renewal Plan will outline the redevelopment of Kalispell properties to make them more in line with the new Core Area Plan to revive and revisit undermanaged and underserviced areas across the city.

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.

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.

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

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