$15 million referendum to be on ballot

Bikers take advantage of the Linear Trail near Peets Hill. photo by Matthew Weigand

The Bozeman Parks and Trails Committee (BPTC) will post a referendum on the November ballot asking for a $15 million bond to purchase new land and develop parks, athletic fields, and walking, hiking and biking trails.

The bond would also be used to protect water resources such as the Bozeman Creek, and to promote regional sports tournaments to boost the local economy. Kalispell and Missoula have recently processed similar bonds for park acquisition and development.

For the past 15 years, the city of Bozeman has not purchased any new land for the purpose of developing new parks. The BPTC, a group of about 35 individuals, believes the time is ripe to invest in land because of the current housing market. “Some of the land options are available for half price right now,” David Cook, Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Board, said.

Hikers enjoy an afternoon stroll with the dogs on Peets Hill. photo by Matthew Weigand

Bozeman is growing, with the population expecterd to increase from its current 38,000 by as much as 50 percent in the next 20 years. This growth will require more land for parks and trails, and the bond intends to provide that land. The bond has a set term of 20 years and will cost an average of $44 per household per year.

“Really there is no reason for students to not vote for [the referendum],” Cook said. The BPTC encourages community members to attend its meetings. The next meeting is at 6 p.m. at the D.A. Davidson building on 529 E. Main St. on Tuesday, Sept. 25. The committee also holds public presentations to educate voters.

If the referendum passes in November, public processes will determine the first projects.

For more information, go to: http://bozemanparksandtrails.com/.