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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 132

Snowfill Dog Park Expanding Trail System

by Tim Hart

The Gallatin Valley Land Trust has spearheaded a recent effort to expand the Snowfill Dog Park north of Bozeman. The GVLT will turn the 1.25 mile one-trail loop into a 2 trail, figure eight design. Visitors to the park in the last week have been turned away, disappointed, while trucks delivered over a mile of gravel to build the new trail. But hopefully by this weekend, the park will be up and running with the new additions in place.

The park received two grants, one from the Bozeman City Parkland Improvement grant, and the other from the Montana Recreational Trails Program grant, allowing them to fund the expansion. The park will now be able to use a much larger portion of its 37-acre park. The new trail will follow utilize the outer edges of the park much better than the current trail.

The GVLT has focused their efforts on growing the park to handle its growing popularity. As one of only six off-leash dog parks in Bozeman, the Snowfill Dog Park provides dog owners a chance to let their dogs off leash without any worry of losing them. Because of other recent improvements made on the park, the GVLT does not foresee any more improvements to the park, unless its much farther down the road. Other dog parks have and will continue to see updates in the nearer future.

Bozeman real estate home buyers who are looking to purchase property in the north of town will be happy to know that they will have a place to walk their dog, no matter its size. Having a town that cares about the health and safety of the community’s pets is an under appreciated aspect of any city and one that Bozeman excels in. The park’s off-leash rules provide freedom and less worry to dog owners, while allowing the dogs to let loose all their extra energy.

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/environment/dog-friendly-recreation-area-gets-new-trail/article_d7b81d90-5b08-11e4-95b9-abef471ea2bb.html

Subdivisions Will Now Need Water Rights to Drill Home Wells

by Tim Hart

A county judge has put a stop to subdivisions unrestricted use of exempt wells in the state. Jeff Sherlock nullified a 1993 Department of Natural Resources and Conservation law that allowed developers of subdivisions to drill an unlimited number of small, home wells without needing to get a water rights permit. According to the 1993 law, so long as the wells were not connected, a subdivision could pump 1,000 acre-feet of water without a permit. Farmers and ranchers using the same amount of water had to apply for a water right or permit to use state water.

The fight over subdivision water rights began in 2009 when a few Billings ranches asked for a rule change, due to a lack of available water from nearby subdivision use. Under Montana law, anyone using state water needs a water right and people with the oldest water rights get priority. However, a loophole in the books allowed wells pumping less than 10 acre-feet a year to not need permits. When the law was drafted in the 70’s, there just weren’t that many of them. But recently, subdividers had used the law as a way to avoid either paying a city for their water, or attaining a water permit.

Senior water rights holders can ask other junior water rights holders to use less water when it is short, but they have no way to make exempt wells curtail their water use. But now, the judge has ruled against the law, making subdivisions hook up to city water or get their hands on a permit.

This law will have an impact on real estate development in Bozeman and Montana. How it impacts new subdivisions is yet to be seen, but homeowners moving into these subdivisions should be aware of the updated law.

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/environment/exempt-well-ruling-goes-against-unrestrained-development/article_47b8c4fa-58b1-11e4-88be-b34d014024f4.html

 

 

Big Sky business owners and community members are hoping to establish a TEDD in Big Sky to foster increased, infrastructural development. A TEDD, a targeted economic development district, is a district that is eligible to receive additional county taxes for improvement of its infrastructure. A TEDD defines where new developments must occur, based on the money it receives from the TIF system.

With a TIF, tax increment financing, the city would not see an increase in its taxes, despite increasing its development projects. Big Sky would be able to take part in this program by taking the incremental improvement in base property values and new construction from the expected taxable values and use that leftover money to fund developments within the TEDD.

According to the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce, the TEDD is designed to fund projects that would normally never be started. Essentially, if the project were to fail without additional funding, then and only then, can the project really be considered eligible within the TEDD.

A TEDD and TIF in Big Sky would certainly help foster economic growth in the area. For a small tourism based town, their focus on improving their own infrastructure, shows their desire to continue growing the town of Big Sky. As the economy improves, it will become more attractive to businesses and investors (whether real estate or other), helping to get the ball moving, and growing Big Sky past just a vacation real estate destination.

Source: http://www.lonepeaklookout.com/news/article_3b03c53a-5563-11e4-a7c8-d7cffd97bb55.html

 

 

Mortgage Rates Drop Below 4 Percent

by Tim Hart

The interest rate on a 30 year fixed mortgage loan dropped below 4% for the first time since June of 2013. The rate hit 3.97% this last week and now has become a more opportune time to consider purchasing real estate. The drop has been a much larger drop than other adjustments taken this year.

According to CNN real estate, the drop in rates have come because investors have been buying US treasury bonds in droves over the last week. In general, mortgage rates usually move in sync with the 10 year bond note, so when the yield fell to 1.86%, it seemed natural that fixed-mortgage rates would drop as well. Investors have moved to purchasing bonds because of the economic unrest in Europe. Rates have actually lowered because of investors actions, where most experts expected mortgage rates to rise after the Fed pulled back on its economic stimulus.

If you are considering purchasing real estate in Bozeman, Belgrade, Big Sky or the greater Gallatin Valley, lower rates may have made you far more eligible to buy than you may have been even a week ago. Over 30 years, even the smallest adjustments in mortgage rates can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Source: http://money.cnn.com/2014/10/16/real_estate/mortgages-rates-drop/index.html

Bozeman Considering Building a New Convention Center

by Tim Hart

The city of Bozeman is considering building a new convention center for the area’s residents. Those living in Bozeman, or looking to purchase real estate in Bozeman, will see changes take place on North 7th Avenue, assuming the plan is approved.  The plan would be put into the already established urban renewal project in the area. Currently, the city is accessing the feasibility of the plan before giving it the true go-ahead. The city will assess nearby properties and decide whether to include them into the new district, or draw new lines. The city is looking at two parcels of land, one north of the Holiday Inn and another just south of Baxter Lane.

The addition of a city center continues a growing trend to truly make Bozeman the center of all events, services and activities in the Gallatin Valley. Please see these other articles on the other building projects currently going on like the future aquatics center, sports complex, the cannery district improvements, and airport expansion. For anyone looking into real estate, this is great news, because in general, these major hubs will continue to see more foot traffic and with more traffic comes real estate buyers and sellers.

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/bozeman-looking-to-pave-way-for-convention-center-near-north/article_e1a04886-535c-11e4-8799-2753b7164e2a.html?utm_medium=desktop&utm_source=block_953010&utm_campaign=blox

Bozeman Int. Airport Breaks Records, Will Expand

by Tim Hart

Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport saw record breaking numbers this summer and fall and will be looking to expand in the next 5 to 10 years to take care of increasing numbers. The airport saw 83,011 passengers in September, an all time high for the airport. The airport also dealt with record numbers between May and September, an 8% increase from prior years. The airport believes numbers have increased along with Bozeman and Yellowstone tourism, all contributing to eachother's success. The airport’s proximity to Big Sky keeps those numbers strong in the winter as well.

In order to better host their rising totals, the airport has drafted plans to expand the airport in the next 5 to 10 years. The airport would like to add a second paved runway and expand the terminal. Their plan also included great news for Christmas travelers, with the addition of a new parking garage, helping to keep cars warm and out of blizzard conditions. The airport would also like to add a de-icing area and contract a new non-stop flight to Dallas. Some of their plans will be implemented immediately, while some plans may be 5 to 10 years down the line. The plan will come up for approval in December.

To see how an expanding airport can affect Bozeman and Bozeman real estate, please read my article regarding housing market conditions in Bozeman.

Source: http://m.nbcmontana.com/news/airport-director-bozeman-breaks-passenger-records/29043366

http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/bozeman-airport-plans-to-expand-to-keep-up-with-record-numbers/29060270

 

Bozeman Awarded 3.3 Million for Mental Health Programs

by Tim Hart

The Bozeman School District received 3.3 million dollars to run a new program designed to help students dealing with mental stress and health issues, greatly increasing the scope of Bozeman’s programs and services in this area. The grant came from the National Institute of Justice’s program called the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative. The NIJ chose 24 projects out of 200 proposals.

The Bozeman School District will now work with University of Montana researchers  to better learn what a comprehensive mental health system can do to improve a struggling student’s outlook and future. The University of Montana will be watching the program unfold in  Bozeman to see if it will improve discipline, attendance and academics  in its students.  U of M will watch how the grant affects or improves Bozeman’s system, and then create a system that can be implemented elsewhere.

The 3.3 million dollars will be used to hire specialists who already work with struggling students. Bozeman will also hire a parent liaison to act as a better bridge between families and teachers. The school district will also have their teachers be trained to become “trauma informed.” They want to help teachers empathize with their students and help them recognize that divorce, the loss of a family member, abuse, even health conditions can drastically affect the behavior and success of any student.

Bozeman’s continued discipline towards fixing problems before they start has been showcased again in this case. Although Bozeman has never had any school tragedy, its nice to know that they are taking steps to prevent one in the future. It is wonderful knowing that the school truly cares for its students and their families and want to see them thrive in and outside of school. When I sell real estate, I always notice how diligent some buyers are in making sure their home is within Bozeman’s districts. This grant is a great example why people continue to move to Bozeman—because they see their faith rewarded with hard work and great schools.

 

Sources: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/article_901b2eca-49f9-11e4-8b9c-9ba3f52dac29.html

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/article_8af9d82c-4a87-11e4-8122-c7a9d4c09587.html

Story Mill Park Begins Development

by Tim Hart

Work has just started on a new park being built in the story mill area. Story Mill Community Park will be a 54 acre park near Bridger and Griffin Drive. The park is still in its conceptual stages but organizers hope the park will one day provide picnic areas, shelters, climbing boulders, playground equipment, fields, a splash pad, outdoor ampitheatre and a fenced dog park.

So far, workers have focused on removing buildings from the area and opening up more space. They have already removed a few mobile homes from the no longer functioning Bridger View Trailer Court as well as a few old farm buildings. They will also clean the East Gallatin River where they are adding vegetation and landscaping the river to look more natural.

Creators of the park hope to connect the park with walking trails in the area, better connecting the North and South side of town. Ideally, the park will also provide a 2.1 mile walking/biking path for those wanting to walk or bike to the “M” and drinking horse trails. The park would be open to the public starting summer of 2017 at the earliest.

Residents in the area will see a marked improvement to the look and utility of the area where the park will go. Proximity to parks can add a lot of value to a real estate listing.

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/article_c962ed6e-4830-11e4-b663-3760aa97ec37.html

 

MSU Achieving Goals and Attracting Students

by Tim Hart

Montana State University has already met several goals it had set for itself to eclipse in 2019. MSU has exceeded its targeted numbers for online courses, enrolling more students into the 2-year Gallatin College and raising international student numbers. In addition to that, MSU has closed the gap for its enrollment goals. This year the school will host 15,421 students, a new record in enrollment, and they hope to reach 16,000 students by 2019. The graduate school has also grown to 2,050 students, with a goal of reaching 2,350 students in 5 years. The growth can be seen as a positive trend for the school, as it continues to set new academic and enrollment standards and meeting them.

Some faculty had expressed concern that the growth of the school would lower its quality, but new numbers released by MSU suggest otherwise. MSU will have its brightest class in 25 years, possibly more, but the figures do not really exist before that time. On average, the freshman class scored a 25.3 on the ACT, 1720 on the SAT, and had a GPA of 3.43 in high school. The Honors College excelled, attracting students with an average score of 29.5 on the ACT and maintaining a 3.84 GPA in high school. With the size and quality of MSU increasing, the school seems to have a bright future ahead.

Sources: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/montana_state_university/article_6e1e66e2-49be-11e4-a5bf-5b84694502e8.html?utm_medium=desktop&utm_source=block_937344&utm_campaign=blox

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/montana_state_university/msu-brags-about-its-brightest-freshmen-in-years/article_364859dc-4db3-11e4-b431-3b962ce31ad5.html

 

Great Weekend of Charity and Service in Bozeman

by Tim Hart

I was so happy to pick up my newspaper this weekend and read about all the great work going on in Bozeman this last weekend. This weekend, the American Cancer Society put on their 3rd Annual (locally) Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. About 100 people gathered for the non-competitive 3 mile walk to raise money for breast cancer research. The event is designed to help kick-off National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The event raised $5,000 dollars to be donated to breast cancer research. I love finding out about how active our community can be with the right motivation!

This weekend, the Annual Fix Up Festival also took place. The Fix Up Festival is an event designed to aid elderly, disabled, or low income residents in town who, for whatever reason, cannot tackle needed construction projects themselves. The event was sponsored by the Sunrise Rotary Club, who also found the foremen and volunteers to take on the construction tasks. In general, volunteers went out to make roof repairs, add weather proofing to houses and increasing handicap accessibility within homes. All the projects took a day or less of work and cost $2,300 or less. The festival received 30 applicants and 12 were chosen based on the level of their need.

It was really nice to be reminded of how community centered Bozeman is and how friendly a Bozeman neighbor always seems to be. I love knowing that if I ever needed help, my community would be there to help me get through those obstacles, rather than let me slip through the cracks.

Sources:

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/dailyfeatures/one-day-fix-up-festival-helps-community/article_9d0a5434-4c11-11e4-b5ee-dff4f02daf69.html

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/dailyfeatures/charity-walk-marks-first-weekend-of-breast-cancer-awareness-month/article_eee4aa12-4c10-11e4-8477-d3a43deb3664.html

 

 

 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 132

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