Kalispell poised to OK Airport Road traffic project

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The Kalispell City Council will welcome incoming council members Sid Daoud, Ryan Hunter and Sam Nunnally at its meeting tonight.

The council will consider approving the South Kalispell Urban Renewal Project at Airport Road and 18th Street West, as well as two other resolutions.

The Airport Road and 18th Street West project would close 18th Street West to the west of Airport Road and replace it with a new alignment two blocks to the north at 16th Street West, connecting Airport Road with First Avenue West. These changes are intended to improve traffic flow and safety at the intersection.

The project would also add 7,500 linear feet of sidewalk and a bike lane along Airport Road. The space that is currently a vacant lot at 18th Street West and Airport Road would be converted into a public parking facility. This project would be funded through the South Kalispell/Airport Tax Increment Finance District.

The council and the Kalispell Planning Board have discussed the proposed traffic project at numerous meetings, work sessions and public hearings. Most recently, there was a public hearing on the project at the Dec. 16 council meeting.

The council will also consider annexing a 10-acre property in North Kalispell and zoning the property R-2 for residential development. Mark Schwager is requesting the property at 155 Tronstad Road, which is currently county property, be annexed into the Kalispell city limits. The space is currently undeveloped grasslands.

The Kalispell Planning Board held a public hearing on the proposal on Dec. 10 and planning staff presented a staff report. There was no public testimony on the proposal.

Finally, the council will consider approving bonds from the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Program to fully fund the 4 Mile Drive Water Main Transmission Project. This proposal would also “retire prior water project debt for more favorable terms,” according to the meeting agenda.

This financing would approve a Series 2020B bond that would fund up to $2,598,000 of the project, with a term of 20 years and a fixed rate of 2.5%. It would also approve a Series 2020A Bond of $385,000 for the term of 5 years and fixed rate of 2.5%

This would retire previous bonds with a rate of 4.85% and free up “approximately $200,000 of otherwise required reserve.” A portion of this amount was applied to the bonds’ original $405,000 payoff.

The city may also consider other alternative financing options for the project.

Following the meeting, there will be a reception for the new council members.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 201 First Ave. E.

Reporter Bret Anne Serbin may be reached at bserbin@dailyinterlake.com or 758-4459.

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