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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 22

City to Place More Focus on Small City Parks

by Tim Hart

The Bozeman city commission heard recommendations from the Park and Recreation department concerning the lack of small city parks in easily accessible areas. The city already had a plan in place to increase the amount of parkland in Bozeman, but most of their efforts focused on real estate developments on the edges of town.

However, the Parks and Recreation Department reminded the city that Bozeman has become much more dense, with the small infill developments being approved by the city. An infill project is a small real estate development of 30 or less units that basically fills the “open holes” within the city itself. Unfortunately, when developers fill these spaces with new homes, the land that had been considered public domain before, now ceases to provide any park services to the community. In addition to this, when the city becomes more dense, added strain is put on the already existing parks in the area.

When developers fill these holes and do not leave at least an acre for public park space, the city can take cash instead of the land. Mayor Krauss made his position clear that he would much rather take the land than the money, even for appreciation values, if nothing else.

The commissioners verbally agreed that all subdivisions need to contribute land, first and foremost, but that they would accept cash when no better alternative was available. But, no official decision has been made regarding the issue, and the Parks and Recreation Department will return with more specifics before an official decision is made.

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/bozeman-city-commission-emphasizes-subdivision-parkland-over-payment/article_eaea21b6-58dc-11e4-87ef-ab2091686222.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

 

 

 

Montana’s Fish Wildlife and Parks department has updated several programs in order to improve relationships between public lands, private property owners and hunters. The FWP’s goals were to maximize hunting access for hopeful hunters while improving communication between the three mentioned groups. They hope to address both landowner needs and hunter compliance.

In addition to these goals, the FWP focused on fixing their Home to Hunt license, which helped provide better hunting access to non resident hunters with Montana based family members. The program initially allowed hunters to get a non-resident tag without having to enter a drawing. They would pay full price, but that money would go towards securing more access to Montana lands. But in 2013, the Montana legislature created the Native Montana License, which, essentially did the same thing, but for a cheaper price and the money did not go to securing additional hunting land. Now, the FWP has merged the two programs, lowering the price of the Home to Hunters program, but still using that money for programs, not for profit.

Private landowners should see an improvement in the laws that protect their lands. The FWP has focused on communication between hunters and landowners, establishing a more regimented system to improve their on going relationship

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/wildlife/fwp-advisory-group-fine-tunes-montana-s-home-to-hunt/article_7f5aa50c-4a85-11e4-ad38-33599d025c10.html

Longfellow Wins US Department of Education Honor

by Tim Hart

Longfellow students have something to be proud about coming into this 2014-15 school year. The school was honored with the 2014 National Blue Ribbon School Award, presented by the U.S. Department of Education. Longfellow has 325 kids from Kindergarten to 5th grade.

Longfellow was one of 337 schools nationally and one of two in Montana to receive the honor. The school won in the exemplary high-performing school category. Over the last 5 years, the school has adequately and consistently met the standards set as an overall school. Longfellow also excelled with their special education students as well as low-income students.

On state standardized tests, Longfellow students displayed their excellence. 97% of students scored a passing level or higher in reading, 93% in math, and 94% in science.

Bozeman schools continue to excel, with Longfellow helping to lead the way. Bozeman’s Morning Star school won the same award in 2009, reflecting the overall health of the Bozeman education system. Families with children can come to Bozeman with faith that they can find a quality education for their kids.  

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/article_177eb5f2-48de-11e4-a53a-57657fa45220.html?utm_medium=desktop&utm_source=block_953010&utm_campaign=blox

MSU may have played a crucial role in the development of an experimental drug that possibly saved the two American medical workers in Africa. Techlink, a department within the University, made the crucial connection between a US Army lab and the small San Diego company, Mapp Biopharmaceutical that ultimately created the medicine.

Laurel Halfpap, Senior Tech Manager at MSU’s techlink, helped Mapp Biopharmaceutical with the necessary applications and licensing to get access to an mouse antibody that treated ebola. The company became aware of the ebola treatment the army possessed, but with only 10 employees, they needed all the help they could get. As the Army lab was also understaffed, connecting the two together fell to Halfpap. After more than year of work, she attained the licensing for the San Diego company.

From there, the company took the antibody, adjusted it so humans would not react to it and combined it with other antibodies to create the drug ZMapp. The two Americans working in the Ebola ridden zone were in the most critical of conditions when they decided to try the medicine, despite knowing it hadn’t been fully tested on humans. The two recovered and were moved back to the states for further testing.

Without Halfpap and Techlink, it seems unlikely the Army and Mapp Biopharmaceuticals could have made their important connection. MSU can add that feather to their cap, adding to their building prestige and pedigree.

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/health/article_6c6a18ca-4836-11e4-b7e1-bb231cd0ac62.html

 

 

The Montana Department of Transportation will donate $2.1 million dollars throughout the state in order to purchase additional vehicles and equipment. Both Bozeman and Big Sky were chosen to receive additional funding. Funding was awarded through a competitive grant application, ranking applicants by need and fund availability.

The Human Resource Development Council of Bozeman is receiving money a new 40 passenger bus as well as a new 17 passenger bus from the MDT. The agency currently runs the streamline bus service in Bozeman, a free public bus system that  has routes throughout the city. The agency also runs Galavan, a service providing transportation specifically for the elderly and disabled.

Reach Inc., a non-profit organization in Bozeman that provides a myriad of services to aduts with developmental disabilities, will receive a 5 person van.

The town of Big Sky will receive funds for a 45 passenger motor coach.

Sixteen communities in Montana will receive funding in total, including Missoula, Helena, Butte, and Whitehall. Additional facilities and carports will be built across the state with the remaining money. Earlier this year, the MDT had given $7.8 million across the state to deal with the operating costs of these transportation agencies.

For local Bozeman residents, the addition of two new busses will help alleviate logistical concerns for both Streamline and Galavan. Additional busses only add to a solid infastructure, creating a more reliable, punctual transportation service. Citizens reliant on public transportation in Bozeman can only see the additions as great news, helping to better (sorry for this one) streamline the bus system and improve its reliability.

Source: Chronicle Staff. “Agencies Receive Money for Transportation Improvements.” Bozeman Daily Chronicle. 28 September 2014.

I read a great article in the business journal of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle today. In it, Steve Hample of Hample and Peck ( a trust/banking organization) outlined what may have set Bozeman apart from the rest of Montana on its road to recovery from the fiscal collapse in 2008.

Hample began with the standard reasons for why Bozeman may have been more likely to recover from economic decline. Such reasons included the scenic area, our clean air, the low crime, the good schools, the presence of MSU and a continually growing tourism industry. I’d agree with these reasons, but I appreciated how Hample took the story farther than the obvious.

Over the last two years, Montana has ranked first on the “Index of Entrepreneurial Activity.” The index correlates the ratio of new businesses formed compared to the size of the population. Now granted, Montana always does very well or very poorly in most surveys based on per capita, so I thought maybe this one was similar.

However, Hample noted that the other two states that have always ranked close to us in this index were Colorado and California. Both have respectable populations, as well as the great mystery to any Montanan, cities. Hample suggests, then, that our number-one ranking is not due to the rural aspect of living in Montana, but instead the quality of the individuals coming to Bozeman.

Now, of course, what came first? The chicken or the egg? Does a scenic area, clean air, low crime and good schools attract better, smarter people, that then leads to a better, smarter town? Or do these factors actually create better, smarter people, that then lead to improvements in the latter. It probably is both and probably doesn’t really matter either way, so long as the improvement continues!

But what I loved about the article was how Hample suggested that we may have actually already passed a specific tipping point for continued economic success and less hardships in the future. Hample pointed to the presence of Right Now Technologies in Bozeman, which attracted many high-tech individuals and support-staff who would not have been in Bozeman before the business started. Some of their staff went on to start their own tech based companies and so on.

Our airport has now become the biggest in the state. With such good skiing and proximity to Yellowstone, it’s surprising it’s taken this long! But having such an airport at our disposal attracts more people, and who knows who may stick around after their visit? Now, the obvious factors, good schools, low crime etc., almost see their influence increase with the increased exposure to higher numbers of people

Essentially, Hample states that we have ascended into a different league, “like a football team moving to a higher division.” It took a lot of work to get over the barrier, but since Bozeman has, it now has access to a myriad of benefits that other towns simply cannot access. I hope we can continue such a trend and potentially hop another one of these economic barriers as Bozeman continues to grow into the future.

Hample, Steve. “Enjoying Success.” Business Journal for Southwest Montana. 23 September 2014.

Marketing Update: Gallatin Valley Townhomes and Condominiums

by Tim Hart

This month, we will highlight condominiums and townhomes in the Gallatin County from the first two quarters of 2013 compared to the first two quarters of 2014.

Here are a few stats for all of Gallatin County for condos and townhomes:

  • Units increased in the first two quarters by 27.5% (244 sold in 2013, 311 sold in 2014)
  • Dollar volume increased in the first two quarters by 55.8% from $56,339,593 in 2013 to $87,800,977 in 2014
  • Average sale price also increased from $234,833 to $280,586
  • For 2014 through 8/31/2014
    • Sold volume already at $117,936,021 and 438 units

Summary – based on increases across the board in the first two quarters from 2013 to 2014, the 2014 market continues to shine, looking to surpass 2013 annual totals easily.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 22

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