Bozeman commission to consider purchase of Peets Hill addition

By Nora Shelley, Bozeman Daily Chronicle Staff Writer

December 10, 2021

Bozeman city commissioners plan to consider next week whether the city should spend $800,000 to seal the deal on a purchase of 12 acres of land on Peets Hill.

The plot of land up for sale is at the far southern end of the hill and slopes down to Church Street, connecting the trail from Peets Hill to Kagy Boulevard. Though it is open and appears connected to the city’s Burke Park, it is privately owned and was put up for sale over the summer.

The Gallatin Valley Land Trust had an early heads up, and the organization scrambled to put together a bid. After an initial deal fell through, the land trust’s offer to buy the land for about $1.225 million was accepted.

That kicked off a massive fundraising campaign, which saw hundreds of people donate to raise $800,000; half of the cost for the sale of the land and additional improvements GVLT is planning for the land.

The land trust then turned to the city, asking for $485,000 to cover the rest of the cost of the land, and $315,000 over the next two years to complete the rest of the project.

The proposal received a thumbs up from the now-defunct Recreation and Parks Advisory Board in November.

Commissioners are set to vote on the proposal Tuesday. The funds are proposed to come out of the city’s cash-in-lieu of parkland fund, which gets money when developers choose to pay cash to the city rather than provide parkland required under city development standards.

City staff said during the board meeting in November that phasing the payment over time will allow for the fund to replenish itself. Parks and Recreation Director Mitch Overton said at the time that the city will also pursue grants to cover some of the $315,000.

If approved, it wouldn’t be the first time GVLT and Bozeman have partnered to buy land on Peets Hill. The purchase of 40 acres in 1993 with the help of the city was one of the land trust’s first major project under the helm of its founder, Chris Boyd.

The two entities also purchased two acres of land on the hill in 2008. If commissioners approve the funds, the park will be turned over to city ownership when the sale is closed.

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