Building shade in Missoula

MISSOULA - Thursday, a new shade shelter was dedicated on the Bitterroot Branch Bike Path.

This is the second shade shelter in town. The first is over on the Milwaukee trail. Supports say this shelter is special because it beautifies the surrounding area.

"This particular area doesn't have a lot of parks and doesn't have a lot of shade along this Bitterroot trail, so we are definitely very thoughtful of where we want to bring a shade shelter, too," says Amy Cilimburg, Executive Director of Climate Smart Missoula.

Climate Smart Missoula and Trees for Missoula teamed up to take a bit of browning grass and turn it into something beautiful.

"They were really interested in not only building a shade shelter but also to reclaim an area that was blighted that didn’t have trees, that didn’t have plants, and that’s why we ended up here,” Cilimburg said.

And the locals have already noticed, says Karen Sippy, executive director of Trees for Missoula.

"Neighbors come across the street and say, 'This has been an eyesore for so many years, thank you so much, I can’t believe you are doing this,'" Sippy says. "They are just really appreciative of it."

This shade shelter is about more than just beautifying the area, it also serves a purpose.

"Something creative that looked neat and could provide shade over a bench to someone who is commuting, walking or just being outside,” Cilimburg said.

And the design is environmentally friendly as well.

"The idea was to use wood that was recycled or reclaimed or wood that would otherwise go to the dump, so we worked with Home Resource and they actually build the wood structure," Cilimburg said.

It took multiple organizations to put together and they hope to continue building shade for Missoula.

This won’t be the last shade shelter in town. They already have plans to build another one in Bellevue Park this fall using cottonwood from trees removed from the park.

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