Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Priority themes identified for West Glacier growth plan

by Kianna Gardner
Daily Inter Lake | May 27, 2020 1:00 AM

Following initial public meetings that occurred earlier this year, the West Glacier Vision Project team was able to identify key themes and concepts the greater West Glacier community would like to see guide future development decisions in the area.

According to a recent press release, the vision plan is centered around West Glacier because it is “a nexus for recreation, a high quality of life, healthy lifestyles and sustainable development while retaining unique historic qualities and abundant natural scenic beauty.”

The project first emerged last year after a group decided a more comprehensive growth plan was needed for the area, which has become an increasingly popular destination in recent years given its location to the Glacier National Park. The team wanted to make sure the vision project was a collaborative community planning effort that included input from local residents, business owners, recreationists and other stakeholders. Other partners on the project have grown to include Glacier National Park, the University of Montana and Pursuit.

The first public meetings occurred in February and based on public comment from those and from additional commentary gathered online, vision project leaders pinpointed six priorities the West Glacier community would like to see maintained or provided as the area continues to experience growth. These include the preservation of community character and sense of place, seamless transportation connections, sustainable business development and continued support for sustainable outdoor recreation opportunities.

The identifying of these priority areas is step one in formulating the vision plan. From here, leaders will hone in the specifics of those priority areas and then will compile strategies for how those visions can be fulfilled into the future.

While initial meetings were held in-person, the press release said due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, the team “will shift to primarily online engagement opportunities for the health and safety of our communities.” Community members who wish to engage in the process for visioning the area’s future are encouraged to do so at www.westglacier.mindmixer.com.

In addition, the team’s next major public meeting, which was scheduled for June, will be rescheduled for the fall “or whenever people feel safe gathering in group settings again.”

Reporter Kianna Gardner can be reached at 758-4407 or kgardner@dailyinterlake.com