At around noon tomorrow, the City of Missoula is hosting a grand opening and ribbon-cutting for the new Montana Rail Link Park in the Franklin to the Fort and Southgate Triangle neighborhoods. Annette Marchesseault is a Project Manager and Redevelopment Specialist with the Missoula Redevelopment Agency and she says the park has been under design and construction for the last year and a half.

“We took the fences down about two weeks ago,” Marchesseault said. “The dog park opened last fall. We were happy that we were able to get that open and it has been super successful. We opened the community gardens earlier this spring so that they were open in time for spring planting. We kept the rest of the park closed until the lawn had really grown in.”

Marchesseault says the park is in the middle of neighborhoods underserved by parks and was made possible by the City’s purchase of the land from Montana Rail Link.

“In 2017, the city purchased that property for a substantially reduced price,” Marchesseault said. “Funding to purchase the property came from two sources in the city. Some came from TIF funding and some was from Open Space Bond funding.”

According to Marchesseault, design and construction costs of approximately $1.7 million were financed by Tax Increment Funds. The new 4.5-acre park features a playground, a picnic shelter, community garden, multi-use sports court, lawn volleyball court, dog park and open play spaces.

Speakers at the event will include:

Mayor John Engen

Stacy Posey, President, Montana Rail Link

Karl Englund, Chair, Missoula Redevelopment Agency Board

Andrea Dahl, Franklin to the Fort Neighborhood Council Leadership Team Co-Chair

John O’Connor, Parks and Recreation Board

Jean Zosel, Executive Director, Garden City Harvest