Bozeman TOPS Project Updates
It has been a busy summer for trails and parks projects funded by the Trails, Open Space and Parks Bond (TOPS). The TOPS Bond was passed with overwhelming support in 2012 to expand and improve trails, protect water quality, create sports fields, acquire new park land and preserve Bozeman’s natural areas for future generations. While GVLT was involved in the passage of the bond and only a couple of funded projects, we want to give the community an update on all of the TOPS funded projects so you can see all the incredible things happening with your taxpayer dollars. Parks and trails projects are far more complicated than meets the eye so delays and obstacles are part of the process. While some projects may be opening later than expected, all partners have been working hard to provide these spaces to the public as quickly as possible. All of the following projects received funding from the City of Bozeman TOPS Bond. There is currently around $500,000 remaining to be allocated.
Path to the M-
The much anticipated Path to the M, connecting town trails to the M and Drinking Horse with a path along Bridger Drive, is underway. After some delays with acquiring trail easements, the Bozeman Parks and Recreation Department are putting construction out for bid this winter with the hopes of breaking ground in the spring of 2019. Many partners are working together on this project at different stages including the City of Bozeman, US Forest Service, Montana Dept. of Transportation, GVLT, and Western Federal Lands Highway Division. When this paved multi-use path is complete, it will connect into the Story Mill Spur Trail, new Story Mill Community Park, East Gallatin Recreation Area, Cherry River Trails and beyond.
Story Mill Community Park-
The Trust for Public Land (TPL), in partnership with the City of Bozeman, has been working diligently on a new flagship 60-acre park Northeast of downtown. The park will feature opportunities for active recreation such as trails, climbing boulder, adventure playground, and dog park, as well as community gathering spaces like an outdoor amphitheater, pavilions, grand lawn and more. In addition to the incredible amenities built into the park, the Trust for Public Land is developing a more natural experience in a large section of the park along the East Gallatin River and wetlands. The nature sanctuary will host new trails and trail connections, as well as natural and cultural interpretive programs. The site plan is filled with innovative, exciting, and inclusive amenities. $4.5 million from the 2012 Bozeman TOPS Bond has been allocated to this project, and the private fundraising campaign led by TPL is complete after raising $11.76 million from more than 450 donors. Construction is underway and the park is slated to be open to the public in the summer of 2019.
The Trust for Public Land also facilitated the acquisition of the Boys and Girls Club facility, adjacent to the Story Mill Community Park. The building was donated to the City of Bozeman and is now being used as a community center for recreation, camp drop offs and pickups, activities and indoor gym programming.
Bozeman Sports Park-
The Bozeman Sports Park Foundation and the City of Bozeman made swift strides this summer on the first phase of the 80- acre sports complex on the west side of town between Baxter Lane, Oak Street, Cottonwood Road and Flanders Mill. The first phase with two natural fields, parking lot, playground, restrooms and concession building will be open for limited use this fall. A group of citizens and parents have formed the Bozeman Sports Park Foundation to continue raising funds to complete the remaining fields. The Sports Park could eventually include 12 fields, splash pad, public park, and additional trails. While the primary use of the Sports Park will be athletics, it provides many open space and recreational amenities for community members when it is not being used for practice, games, and tournaments.
Bozeman Pond Park-
GVLT, Run Dog Run, and the City of Bozeman expanded Bozeman Pond Park by 9 acres, adding a natural playground, fenced off-leash dog park, new trails, additional parking, picnic shelters, and bathrooms. The park was opened to the public in the summer of 2016. Visit a previous post for more information.
Bozeman Creek Enhancement Project-
Work along Bozeman Creek in Bogert Park is complete. The City of Bozeman has installed a new bridge and work has been done to improve stream quality and establish vegetation along the creek.
Front Street Connector Trail-
GVLT is planning a new connection that will help link the North part of Bozeman. The 1/4 mile connector trail on Front Street will start at the intersection of Rouse Avenue ans Oak Street on the Northeast side of Bozeman. This paved, multi-use path will occupy a city right-of-way and will greatly improve the safety for trail users who want to connect to the Northeast trail system coming from the west. Right now, people would have to use busy Rouse Ave. to connect with the trail network. With this added connection, people will be able to safely access the Story Mill Spur Trail, the new Story Mill Park, Path to the M, East Gallatin Recreation Area and more. This connector trail is currently on hold pending the reconstruction of Rouse Ave. Stay tuned for updates on the timeline in the next year.