This would be a bit of a different approach to things for downtown Missoula. When you think about food trucks and summer programs around town, what comes to mind? You probably think about Caras Park and many of the other events that take place around Missoula. If things go as planned - the Missoula County Courthouse could be one of those places that feature food and activities.

The county says they have hopes to provide an option for downtown workers and the community to get outside for lunch with food trucks on the lawn area twice a week. An NBC MONTANA story says there would also be an event called "The Longest Table" on the lawn every Thursday: “Folks sit down together and all they do is eat and there’s going to be a little prompt on the table that helps them break the ice but it’s not a political prompt it’s really about their lives and their families really a social prompt” - Director of the Missoula Co. Fairgrounds, Emily Brock.

There's been some comments on the KPAX-TV Facebook page that show displeasure with the whole idea. Some opposition is because food trucks can't operate in the street downtown because they would be competing with businesses, but they're going to be allowed on the courthouse lawn because it's county property. Other comments address how the new plans seem to be a way to take focus away from the homeless community that currently occupy the courthouse lawn on a daily basis.

  • "How about you finally figure out why the homeless population is on the rise... and on your front lawn..."
  • "This is a misuse of taxpayer money. Rather than address the various causes of homelessness and look for real results based solutions the county is proposing to normalize and celebrate the transient lifestyle. Taxpayers deserve better than this. Missoulians deserve better than this. We as a city can find the solutions to this problem but only if we are willing to do the hard work and not simply create more handouts."
  • "Who came up with this idea? The food trucks are compeating with brick and mortar business if they are parked on the street, but not if they park on the court house lawn. Are the tax payers on the hook for electricity also, we just payed to replace the trees and lawn just wrong all the way around."

Not everybody is happy about it - but it looks like we could see the courthouse lawn try to become more of a spot to hang downtown. Stay tuned.........

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