Downtown Master Plan Update 2017-2018

The first-ever Downtown Missoula Master Plan was created in 2007-2008 through a community-wide visioning process. It was unanimously approved by the Missoula City Council and several other Missoula organizations in 2009. The purpose of the plan was to build a comprehensive, balance-centered strategy to strengthen and expand Downtown Missoula’s role as the economic and cultural heart of the city. The Master Plan is a reflection of Missoula’s values. It reinforces the character, culture and economic activity of Downtown, and it builds on Missoula’s history. The plan focuses on land use and circulation and provides strategies in the areas of employment, housing, parking, retail, and tourism.

With consistent and persistent leadership, the Downtown Master Plan Committee has been diligent in its efforts to ensure the plan is realized and serves as the primary guiding tool for decisions impacting Downtown. Comprised of 16 community members from the private and public sectors, the Implementation Team consists of representatives from:

  • City Development Services
  • City Transportation Services
  • Destination Missoula
  • Downtown Business Improvement District
  • Farran Realty Partners
  • Missoula City Council
  • Missoula County Commission
  • Missoula Downtown Association
  • Missoula Downtown Foundation
  • Missoula Housing Authority
  • Missoula Parking Commission
  • Missoula Redevelopment Agency
  • Montana Department of Transportation
  • Mountain Line

The plan has attracted more than $850 million dollars of investment in Downtown Missoula, as public and private entities work towards making Missoula’s vision a reality. New and renovated buildings, expansion of government services, infrastructure and transportation improvements, and a culture of entrepreneurship are just some of the focused accomplishments.

In October 2016, the Master Plan Implementation Team reviewed every action item in the plan. That detailed review showcases what has been completed, what is in progress, and what has yet to take place or will not happen:

  • 2017 DTMP Status Report: Land Use & Circulation (hotlink)
  • 2017 DTMP Status Report: Sub-Strategies (hotlink)

That review highlighted the successes of the last 10 years and the need to do a formal update of the original plan. These major accomplishments and projects have served as catalysts for additional development:

  • North Higgins Street Improvement Project (2010) put Missoula in the national spotlight for protected bike lanes and complete streets design and led to full occupancy from Broadway north.
  • First Interstate Bank (2011) and Garlington, Lohn & Robinson (2012) each built a six-story employment center in Downtown Missoula.
  • The Park Place Parking Structure (2013) won a national parking award for its design and holds the largest solar installation in the State of Montana.
  • The Old Sawmill District completed Silver Park, the boat launch and extended the riverfront trail, and completed multiple private residential projects and started development on new ones.
  • The Riverfront Triangle is expected to break ground on a conference center and hotel, with commercial and residential development to follow.
  • Madison and Higgins Bridges will be re-decked with improved pedestrian and bicycle facilities.

Priorities for the Master Plan update have been identified and include:

  • Business Retention & Recruitment Strategies
  • Business/Employment Growth
  • Caras Corridor Planning
  • Downtown Housing Development
  • Front & Main Redesign & Retail Flow
  • Parking Development
  • Retail Recruitment Strategies
  • River Corridor Planning
  • Street Design Standards
  • Technology Growth

Community Support Needed

The Downtown Missoula Partnership – comprised of the BID, the MDA and the Missoula Downtown Foundation – has launched a campaign to raise $400,000 for consulting services to update the Master Plan. A Request for Proposals will be issued in March 2018.

The original Downtown Master Plan was funded by nearly 60 investors, public and private entities vested in the success of Downtown Missoula. We believe a community planning process led by the private sector and funded collaboratively between public and private entities is a recipe for success.

If you are interested in supporting the Downtown Master Plan Update, please contact Executive Director Linda McCarthy via phone (406-543-4238) or email (linda@missouladowntown.com). Folks are encouraged to send in a check, payable to the Missoula Downtown Foundation, to 218 East Main, Missoula, MT 59802. Contributions to the MDF will be tax deductible.

The actual planning process is anticipated to start in the spring of 2018, and all Missoulians and Downtown stakeholders are encouraged to participate. Public workshops, focus group meetings, stakeholder meetings and surveys will be used to solicit individuals and their input in the planning process.

As the update progresses, the committee will be using a variety of information and processes to inform their decisions. A couple of important documents at this time are the 2017 Land Use and Circulation Status Report and the 2017 Master Plan Sub Strategies Status Report

These reports and more documents to come can be viewed in the Master Plan Update tab on this page.

 

Major accomplishments and projects have served as catalysts for additional development:

  • North Higgins Street Improvement Project (2010) put Missoula in the national spotlight for protected bike lanes and complete streets design and led to full occupancy from Broadway north.
  • First Interstate Bank (2011) and Garlington, Lohn & Robinson (2012) each built a six-story employment center in Downtown Missoula.
  • The Park Place Parking Structure (2013) won a national parking award for its design and holds the largest solar installation in the State of Montana.
  • The Old Sawmill District completed Silver Park, the boat launch and extended the riverfront trail, and completed multiple private residential projects and started development on new ones.
  • The Riverfront Triangle is expected to break ground on a conference center and hotel, with commercial and residential development to follow.
  • Madison and Higgins Bridges will be re-decked with improved pedestrian and bicycle facilities.

Completion of nearly all the Master Plan’s action items means it’s time to update the original plan. Priorities for the Master Plan update have been identified and include:

  • Business Retention & Recruitment Strategies
  • Business/Employment Growth
  • Caras Corridor Planning
  • Downtown Housing Development
  • Front & Main Redesign & Retail Flow
  • Parking Development
  • Retail Recruitment Strategies
  • River Corridor Planning
  • Street Design Standards
  • Technology Growth

As the Downtown Missoula Partnership (DMP) embarks upon updating the plan, support from the community is needed. The DMP needs to raise $400,000 to cover the cost of updating the Master Plan. The original plan was funded by nearly 60 partners vested in the success of Downtown Missoula, and funds came from both private investors and public funds. A planning process led by the private sector and funded collaboratively between public and private entities is a recipe for success. Public and private support will ensure the process and the end product align with the community-wide vision for Downtown Missoula. Your contribution can be made now or before March 1, 2018, when an RFP for a consultant will be released.

Contributions can be made to the Missoula Downtown Foundation, a 501c3 organization dedicated to raising funds for Downtown Missoula projects. Contributions will be tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

If you’re invested in the success of Downtown and would like to support this initiative, please contact the Downtown Missoula Partnership at 406.543.4238 or email info@missouladowntown.com

Downtown Missoula is a tremendous success story, but there is more to be done. We hope you will join the DMP in their endeavor to update the Downtown Master Plan and keep it as a guiding tool for the future of our Downtown.

Below you will find links to important documents that will inform and drive the process of updating the Master Plan.

2017 Land Use and Circulation Status Report

2017 Master Plan Sub Strategies Status Report