Historic downtown Kalispell and core areas just north thereof constitute the heart of the community. That is why city planners have worked tirelessly to accommodate economic and population growth while maintaining the area’s natural character. “Growth is inevitable and desirable,” said Urban Land Institute Senior Resident Fellow Edward T. McMahon, “but destruction of community character is not.”
Photo courtesy of The Flathead Beacon.
The stated vision of the “Kalispell Core Area Revitalization Plan,” which took shape last December, is to “transform from an industrially-oriented center into a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use neighborhood, focusing upon retail, residential, entertainment, and cultural amenities designed to proudly and consistently complement the existing historic Kalispell downtown area.”
Specifically, the Plan seeks to remove unutilized railroad track; linearly develop the surrounding park areas, for example, by building an outdoor amphitheater in Woodland Park; infuse the region with higher density housing; compatibly balance the mix of commercial and residential real estate; develop a pedestrian and bicycle trail; and, improve the sidewalks and street connections.
But, will the Plan come to fruition? According to ten months of local market analysis conducted by the Willdan Group, a financial and economic services group based in California, and the results of a feasibility study, not only is the plan feasible, but it is vital to the area’s ability to thrive.
The Plan will proceed through a series of steps, beginning, generally, with the development of an industrial rail park, new railroad tracks, and the amphitheater, and wrapping up with a senior outdoor fitness park and increased retail development.
When viewed in harmony with the recently introduced Façade Improvement Grant Program (FIG), the Plan is especially timely. In an effort to similarly “protect the historical integrity . . . and improve the overall appearance of downtown,” FIG is providing Downtown Kalispell Business Improvement District investors matching grant funds of up to $5,000 to incentivize private sector improvement of commercial buildings.
We believe that encouraging private new investment into Historic Downtown Kalispell in the form of fixed asset investment related to exterior building improvements will help in preserving, enhancing and restoring the historical and architectural significance of some buildings downtown,” –Business Improvement District Board
We want to know what you think! Reactions, thoughts, and opinions are always welcome. We also invite you to learn more about Dean & Leininger of Kalispell by visiting our website.
Want to find out more about the Revitalization Plan or FIG?
To see a full version of the Kalispell Core Area Revitalization Plan, click here.
For a local report on the Plan, click here.
For more information on FIG or the Business Improvement District, click here.
For a local report on FIG, click here.