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Missoula Parks and Recreation is moving forward with plans for a new park in Central Missoula

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Missoula Parks and Recreation is moving forward with plans for a new park in Central Missoula.

The Montana Rail Link Park is planned in a neighborhood that is seeing a lot of development including Southgate Mall and the new Franklin School.

The 4.5 acre park is the last piece to connect the Bitterroot trail system.

The trail stretches from Hamilton to downtown Missoula

The MRL Park will sit on the corner of South Avenue and Johnson Street near Southgate Mall.

Now project developers said that the goal is to really increase the outdoor resources in this neighborhood.

The plan includes a dog park, tennis and basketball courts, a green space, and a community garden.

Annette Marchesseault, Project Manager at Missoula Redevelopment Agency, said that this park will add a green space in a more industrial area.

"It's really important in that it will be a neighborhood park in a neighborhood that is really lacking neighborhood parks," said Annette.

Annette said that this site used to be an empty lot, but she said that it soon it will be a beautiful park that will enhance this neighborhood.

She said that residents have been invited to comment about the plan at public meetings and on the www.missoulaparks.org website.

"This was developed through a public process because this is a neighborhood park and we want neighborhood involvement to help guide what they think is important in their neighborhood in a park," said Annette.

Annette said that so far she has received only positive feedback from the public.

"This park really enhances the neighborhood with amenities and gives a lot of benefit to the neighborhood, so it is definitely a change but I feel that it is a really positive change,” said Annette.

Missoula Realtor, DJ Smith, said that this park will also have a positive impact on real estate.

"Missoula is such a community of life. And I think this just adds another notch in our tool belt to provide that for our community. So any park especially in this location where were seeing a decline in tax revenue for the city. This is only going to enhance the attraction for new businesses and new residential development," said Smith.  

This project has other perks that extends beyond this community.

The last piece of the Bitterroot trail to connect downtown Missoula to downtown Hamilton is on this piece of property.

Project developers said that the plan is to start constructing this park this summer and they believe it will take about six months.  

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