Fort Missoula Regional Park – Brief History, as of Dec 2011

  • August 1995: City and County adopt Missoula Urban Area Open Space Plan
  • September 1995: City Voters Pass $5 million Open Space Bond; the bond identifies land at Fort Missoula as a potential purchase option.
  • 1998: City purchases 100 acres for $700k from the University of Montana for a regional park.
  • 2001: Fort Missoula Regional Park Master Plan adopted by City Council.
  • 2002: JTL (now Knife River) gifts 82 acres at Fort Missoula to the City, effective Dec 31, 2012.  City contracts with JTL to excavate portions of the bowls and receives ~$335k credit in exchange for excavated gravel
  • November 2002: County wide ballot measure for development of Fort Missoula Regional Park is not approved by voters (among city residents, it falls ~100 votes short)
  • 2004: Master Parks and Recreation Plan for the Greater Missoula Area includes and integrates the objectives of the Fort Missoula Regional Park Master Site Plan
  • Jan 2008: Friends of FMRP hires professional pollster to gauge public opinion of the proposed development of the park: 70% of city voters would vote for an $8M bond for phased development and maintenance.
  • 2008: Much of the topsoil needed for development is donated by local contractors
  • 2008: FMRP historical needs met:
    • Western Cultural Inc completes historical evaluation and recommendations.
    • City meets all requirements of the Federal Antiquities Act and the Montana State Historic Preservation Act.
    • Plans for preservation of Fort Missoula Historic District are completed.
    • All Fort Missoula historical groups agree with Western Cultural recommendations and DHM’s design.
    • FMRP park design and architecture will reflect Civilian Conservation Corps era.
  • Nov 2008: DHM Design completes recommendations and design documents; this design addresses all historical needs and recommendations
  • Dec 2008 Missoula City Council adopts FMRP at full design development level, which provides detail to the conceptual master plan adopted in 2002 and includes 35% Construction Documents, making the project “shovel ready”.
  • Missoula County has funded design development for the county portion of FMRP; this process will occur winter 2011/2012
  • Oct 2011: FMRP Highlighted along with Crown of the Continent as the top two “America’s Great Outdoors” projects in Montana by Dept of the Interior head, Ken Salazar.
  • Dec 2012: Missoula County Commissioners approved Design Development detail, phasing, cost estimates, and graphic representations of the 63 acre county owned parcel of FMRP.

History – Additional Detail

  • In 1998, 100 acres, including 83 acres alon gSouth Ave, were purchased from the University of Montana and Montana Board of Regents with the 1995 Open Space Bond funds. This purchase is adjacent to existing Missoula County Fort Missoula Park (60+ acres) and the Fort Missoula Historic District, which includes the Historic Museum at Fort Missoula, the Rocky Mountain Museum of Military History, and many Federal and non-profit agencies housed in buildings from the CCC and World War II era.
  • In 2001 and 2002, the residents of greater Missoula engaged in a park planning process. A Citizens Working Group, representative of the stakeholders in the immediate area and the larger community, met multiple times with professional consultants to determine a master plan for the park. The Working Group hosted a number of public open houses and interviewed numerous users groups, stakeholders and park neighbors. After a year of work, the Working Group adopted a final master site plan and recommended that site plan for adoption by the City and County Park Boards and the City Council and Board of County Commissioners. The Master Site Plan for Fort Missoula Regional Park was adopted unanimously by all parties in July and August of 2002.
  • In October 2002, Knife River Corporation (formerly JTL Group, Inc.) committed to donate 86 acres of property, adjacent to the City-owned parcel of FMRP, to the City in 2012. The donation includes a large pond or lake and will be developed into trails, picnic areas and a non-motorized marina which the Parks and Recreation Department will manage. The property also provides recreation access to the Bitterroot River. In addition, Knife River Corporation agreed to remove materials from the 83 acres to create athletic fields, as per the design consultants and the Working Group. The materials removed included gravel and the City now has in excess of $380,000 in credits with Knife River to perform future Park construction.
  • In 2008, the City of Missoula used a professional landscape design company, to complete design development detail for the Fort Missoula Regional Park Master Plan. This update includes interpretation of historic and archaeological resources and meets all requirements of State and Federal Antiquities and Preservation Acts (Federal 106). The update also includes partially completed construction documents, a phased approach to development, plus cost estimates. This update was adopted by City Council in December 2008, with great support from the community.


Master Parks and Recreation Plan for the Greater Missoula Area

The Master Parks and Recreation Plan for the Greater Missoula Area (MPP) was unanimously adopted in 2004 by the City and County Park Boards, the Joint Planning Board, the Missoula City Council and Board of County Commissioners, and in 2008, the updated FMRP plan was adopted into the MPP by City Council.  FMRP development is key to meeting the recreational, sports and trails needs addressed in the MPP

  • Per the MPP and “National Recreation and Parks Association recreation facility standards”, Missoulashould have at least 1 multi-use recreational field per 4,500 residents. The urban area population is approximately 80,000 which would require 14 additional fields to meet current needs. FMRP plans call for 11 additional fields.
  • Missoula fields are heavily overused and youth are frequently playing their sports in other communities due to a lack of fields in the Missoula area.
  • The FMRP master plan calls for approximately 3 miles of trail, including interpretive sites that honor the CCC era of Fort Missoula.