May 5—The Kalispell Parkline Trail, a transformative project in the works for about a decade, received financial approval Monday from the Kalispell City Council for an $8.1 million budget that also includes a full slate of trail amenities.
The city awarded a bid of $5,993,677 to Sandry Construction for the essential trail installation work.
City Manager Doug Russell called the bid award "a monumental decision."
In addition to the basic trail components, the council voted to implement eight optional features to add to the trail: U.S. 2 bridge improvements, two utility conduits, seeding and irrigation, lighting, site furnishings, plaza map etching and construction of a park environment on the west end of the trail at Meridian Road.
All together, these construction elements exceed the original $4,768,540 budget for the project, which included $3,800,000 in federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant funds.
The city plans to dip into its reserve funds — which are typically maintained at 20% of city revenues — to make up the cost difference.
There was some hesitation among the council members Monday about the possibility of depleting the city's financial reserves. A few on the council, notably Sam Nunnally, Sid Daoud and Ryan Hunter, questioned the necessity of adopting all eight of the proposed additions to the base bid.
Ultimately, only Daoud voted against the bid award with all eight options included.
THE COUNCIL gave unanimous support for the rest of the long list of agenda items at the meeting Monday.
One of these was an administrative step in the process for Samaritan House to expand its facility at 1110 Second St. W.
The homeless shelter hopes to transform the former U.S. Army Reserve Center, currently used for administrative offices, into additional low-income housing units. Samaritan House will seek a Community Block Development Grant fund of $50,000 to do the planning and site work for the expansion. A public hearing will be held May 17.
The council approved four growth policy map amendments in South Kalispell.
These will change the future land-use designations for approximately 75 acres along Airport Road between Begg Park and the intersection of Airport Road and the U.S. 93 Bypass.
Senior Planner P.J. Sorenson said the land use changes will pave the way for additional businesses and higher-density developments in some of the designated areas.
Property owners Manpreet Singh and Patrick Jentz received approval for changes to their properties: Singh requested the city annex the Woodland Qwik Stop into its B-1 (Neighborhood Business) zone, and Jentz asked for a conditional-use permit to build a second dwelling unit at 469 First Ave. EN.
The final couple of decisions before the council Monday concerned the Kalispell Public Works Department.
One was a $2,460,000 bond to finance a regional stormwater facility in northwest Kalispell. The other was the distribution of state Bridge and Road Safety and Accountability Program funds to do a reconstruction project on Center Street.
Finally, the council held a public hearing for the city's application to the Montana Department of Transportation's Transportation Alternatives Grant Program. The city hopes to apply to the program to add sidewalks along 815 feet of Four Mile Drive. There were no public comments received during the public hearing.
Reporter Bret Anne Serbin may be reached at 758-4459 or firstname.lastname@example.org.