By BECKY GOODRICH for Missoula Parks and Recreation
Citizens are invited to a ground breaking celebration for Fort Missoula Regional Park on Saturday, October 10 at 10 a.m. Grading and site preparation for the new park will begin later this month. The $36 million project is funded by the 2014 County Parks and Trails Bond.
The event will feature brief remarks by community leaders, a chance for kids and their families to break ground on the project with ceremonial shovels, and refreshments for all. The celebration will take place at the Rx Trail trailhead, just north of the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula. Speakers include Mayor John Engen, Missoula County Commissioner Jean Curtiss, Barb Neilan of Destination Missoula, Tate Jones, director of the Rocky Mountain Museum of Military History and Dr. Kristin Anderson, Community Medical Center. Visit www.missoulaparks.org for a map to the event site.
The park will be constructed in phases to minimize impacts on current activities, including youth, high school and adult sports. Phase I construction, beginning this month, includes playgrounds, picnic areas, a large pavilion and plaza, trails and multi-use sports fields. Phase II construction, includes playgrounds, a dog park, sport courts, more trails and softball diamonds, is projected to begin in 2017. When complete, FMRP will be a county-wide and regional destination with 156 acres of trails, playgrounds, picnic areas, historic interpretation, a variety of sports facilities, a dog park and support facilities.
The $42 million County Parks and Trails general obligation bond, which was approved by voters in November, 2014, funds the development of Fort Missoula Regional Park, 10 new or improved City playgrounds, and a new trails program for Missoula County. Citizens can learn more about the bond projects at www.missoulaparksandtrails.org.