North Riverside Parks & Trails Plan Ready For Review And Adoption

October 6, 2020
Local Media & Partners


Since the August 2019 adoption of the new Downtown Missoula Master Plan, the Missoula community has taken a deeper dive into redevelopment of the parks and trails along the north side of the Clark Fork River from Russell Street to Missoula College.

The North Riverside Parks & Trails Plan is now complete and ready for the final review and adoption process. Located online at Engage Missoula, the new vision was created by Dover, Kohl & Partners, alongside the Downtown Missoula Partnership and Missoula Parks & Recreation.

Missoulians are encouraged to visit North Riverside Parks & Trails on Engage Missoula, view a six-minute video, review the plan and complete a brief public comment survey by October 26.  The Missoula City Council will set a public hearing for plan adoption in early November.

More than 2,000 Missoula-area residents participated in the planning process, which was significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Dover, Kohl & Partners had to move the entire reveal process slated for April 2020 to a video format on a digital platform due to the economic shutdown.

“It was really impressive how Jason King, Xu Zhang and the team at Dover, Kohl & Partners pivoted this planning process to keep our community members engaged,” said Linda McCarthy, Executive Director of the Downtown Missoula Partnership. “The virtual public reveal last May generated a lot of online engagement through video views and surveys. Missoulians like the plan, and it’s ready for adoption.”

Much like the overall Downtown Master Plan, the North Riverside Parks & Trails Plan is focused on Five Big Ideas:

  • Enhance Ecological Functions, Improve Views and Access to the River
  • Improve Gateways & Circulation
  • Parks for Everyone and for All Seasons
  • Support Existing Uses and Design Multi-Functional Spaces
  • Update Materials, Elements and Landscaping

The planning area focuses intensely on Caras Park, East Caras Park and Bess Reed Park, but also includes Kiwanis Park nearly the Madison Street Bridge and Downtown Lions Park near the California Street Bridge.

The goals of the plan are to enhance and improve the riverfront area with multi-use spaces, year-round activities, improved access to trail connections and the waterfront, improved gateways and connections for all Missoulians and visitors. Recommendations for Caras Park include improved seating and pavers, play spaces under the Higgins Bridge, an ice ribbon for winter skating and summer boarding, new restrooms and more.

The design team will compile public comments for the City Council and integrate citizen feedback into the plan where possible. For more information on the North Riverside Parks & Trails Plan, contact Missoula Parks and Recreation Parks and Trails Design Development Specialist Nathan McLeod via email ([email protected]).

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