The City of Missoula is seeking public input on the updated master plan for North Riverside Parks and Trails through this Monday, June 1

Parks and Trails Design/Development Coordinator Nathan McLeod appeared on a recent Talk Back show and explained the communication effort thus far.

“Since the Downtown Master Plan was adopted in 2019 we’ve held several public workshops to ask people what they’d like to see in these parks,” said McLeod. “In September we had an open house in the Caras Park Pavilion to gather ideas from everybody. We’ve engaged with children and families at fall family fest and at empower place at the Missoula Food Bank. We’ve met with seniors at the Senior Center and at the Clark Fork Manor. We’ve held a series of stakeholder meetings to gather feedback from downtown businesses and the Clark Fork Market, from the city engineering and transportation departments, the department of Natural Resources and Conservation and other river groups, and now we’re seeking more feedback from everybody at Engage Missoula dot com.”

McLeod narrowed the focus of this request to one specific area of the plan.

“The master planning area for this project is along the north bank of the river and it extends all the way from Missoula College west to Russell Street,” he said. “It includes Kiwanis, Bess Reed, East Caras, Caras, Downtown Lions Parks and of course Ron’s River Trail that connects all the parks together.

During the Talk Back program, several callers complained that the Master Plan would remove important parking access to the area. McLeod responded.

“This parkland along the river in downtown Missoula is probably the most important parkland in the entire city of Missoula,” he said. “Is surface parking really the best use for this space? We’re not going to take away all the parking. Even in our long term grand vision we’re still providing for vehicle access to the parks and businesses. We have explored strategies to make parking more efficient, and to make the parks a destination for people not just a spot to leave your car.”

The City and its partners will use the North Riverside Parks and Trails plan to assess current and future recreational needs, evaluate feasible options, develop a strategic action plan, and budget for long-term or phased-in development and improvements.