In Pursuit of Peets Hill

We recently learned that a 12-acre parcel on the southern end of Peets Hill is for sale. The undeveloped parcel would increase the size of Peets Hill/Burke Park by 30% and includes a well-established spur trail that connects Peets Hill to Kagy Boulevard and the rest of the Main Street to the Mountains Trail system.

“When opportunities like this arise, we have to be quickly reactive,” said our Executive Director Chet Work. “If we miss this opportunity, the property will be developed and the chance to protect Peets Hill’s last piece will vanish forever. Peets Hill is the crown jewel of Bozeman’s Park and trail system. We have to move at the pace of real estate and take a swing on this special piece of land.”

Within 24 hours of learning about the parcel, we had received board approval and made an offer on the property. Unfortunately, a strong competing offer for development was accepted.

“Don’t worry,” Chet assured us, as we huddled for a melancholy all-staff meeting. “These things have a way of coming back around. I don’t think this thing is over.”

To cover our bases, we submitted a backup offer. Within a few days, the original buyer terminated their contract, and miraculously, our offer to purchase the property was accepted!

Now, we have until January to complete due diligence and secure the necessary funds to close on the property. As with the other acquisitions over the last 30 years that have stitched together Peets Hill/ Burke Park, we turned to a longtime partner in the City of Bozeman. We’ve begun a conversation with the City about funding the acquisition of the property as well as related improvement and enhancements to the parkland.

These 12-acres hold so much potential; our programs teams have identified two promontories on the property that could serve as established lookouts and locations for educational and interpretive experiences. They have also identified opportunities for additional trail connections and improvements to the existing trail. Once purchased, we would transfer the 12 acres to the City of Bozeman as expanded parkland.

Peets Hill was GVLT’s first conservation project, more than 30 years ago. Securing this last piece of the Gallatin Valley’s “Central Park” would bring our mission full circle and allow us to continue expanding and enhancing the Main Street to the Mountains Trail System. Protecting this property for public use would be a victory for all locals and visitors alike.

The City is equally thrilled about the project. City Manager Jeff Mihelich said, “Peets Hill is a community asset and we are excited at the possibility of keeping this great resource for public use. GVLT’s work supports our strategic plan commitment to maintain and expand our interconnected system of parks, trails and open spaces. The chance to partner on this project is a terrific opportunity!”

Fundraising for this project has just begun. If you’re interested in making a leadership level gift to the acquisition of Peets’ Final Piece, contact Justin Barth at The Mysun Charitable Foundation will be matching donations of $1,000-$15,000 for Peets Hill up to $50,000. The Mysun Charitable Foundation has established this match to encourage donors to stretch their gifts to ensure project success.

If GVLT and the City of Bozeman cannot secure the necessary funding, the property will be listed again on the open market. This is the community’s park, the heart to our arteries of trails throughout the town. There is a place for every person in this project. Stay tuned for more opportunities to engage!

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