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Plans forming for Bozeman’s Second High School

by Tim Hart

By Fall of 2020, high school age students in Bozeman may not all be attending the same school for the first time in the town’s history. Starting this year, plans for a second high school will be taken on in earnest, and Bozeman School District officials hope to present a finalized plan to voters by November 2016.

In order to have a finalized plan by then, school officials will need to put plans in place that work with their budget and local Bozemanites’ hopes for the school. This school year will be focused on open dialogue and communication between the district and the public to put together a high school that will satisfy all parties.

The Bozeman School District plans on asking voters to approve a 60 to 80 million dollar project. The school has a soft deadline of 2020 to complete the school because that is when Bozeman High School’s enrollment is expected to eclipse 2,400 students. Bozeman’s overall enrollment has been increasing yearly and hit an all time new high in 2015. Once Bozeman High School reaches 2,400 students, school officials plan on splitting those students between 2 high schools, both with the capacity to hold up to 1,500 students.

Already topics of debate surrounding the highschool are forming. Will the new high school be very similar to the current one? Will it function just to increase space and carry the same curriculum as Bozeman High? Is there any interest in creating a new, more focused high school to offer students a chance to focus on a specific craft? Will the new high school include some form of cutting edge project, whether infrastructural or educational? All of these questions will need to be addressed in 2015. Any Bozeman resident who feels strongly on any topic should make a point to have their opinion known before year’s end. Already, ideas have been presented to the school to build a magnet high school of 400 to 500 students, while Bozeman High remained more traditional.

The two high schools will still need to decide logistical questions as well—like whether they will share a stadium moving forward, or whether one school might build an auditorium for both.

The school will hire a consultant to put together plans for a new high school rather than school officials based on the consultant’s expertise and ability to put all focus on this project.

It is very exciting to see plans for the new high school starting to develop. The High School’s recent growth really provides evidence for Bozeman’s continued growth. Bozeman School District schools have been some of the best in the state, if not the best, even with the recent growth.  Bozeman continues to be very attractive to young families as evidenced by the district’s enrollment increases.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/bozeman-gears-up-for-planning-high-school-no/article_d39a74b6-b333-567c-9f0b-ec92dd203f1c.html

 

Bozeman Looks to Expand and Upgrade Elementary School

by Tim Hart

The Bozeman School District continues to work hard improving an already wonderful school system. Officials will put a proposed expansion for Hawthorne Elementary School on the November ballot, asking for 5.5 million to improve the school. Even more interesting, the district believes they can gather the needed funds without raising property taxes on Bozeman residents.

Current plans include replacing old classrooms and improving the cafeteria in Hawthorne Elementary, all while creating more space for the school overall. The portable classrooms that were installed in the 1980’s will be removed and replaced with a new two-story addition. The cafeteria will also move from the basement to the first floor and be fully updated. Finally, some playground space that was used for portable classrooms will now be opened up once those are removed.

In order to get the needed funding for these improvements, school officials plan on using tax-increment financing, or a TIF, to raise funds without increasing property taxes. The downtown TIF was originally used to help create the parking garage near Main Street, but the extra reserves were reverted back to school funding. Money cannot be used outside of the district it taxes, so Hawthorne became the natural choice for these funds. Normally, school funding needs to come from the voter approval of some form of bond, which would raise taxes—this scenario will avoid the tax increase.

Bozeman continues to have some of the best public schools around. Their high school was recently honored as the best in the state. Keeping up to date with improvements will keep it so and keep Bozeman as attractive as it is to new potential residents.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/bozeman-schools-plan-million-hawthorne-school-upgrade-without-new-taxes/article_03fb3356-808d-569b-9943-45ed91289f97.html

 

Walkable Communities Most Popular for Millenials

by Tim Hart

The walkability of cities and towns in the United States has become increasingly important for homebuyers – particularly its youngest generation. According to a new study released by the Transportation Research and Education Center at Portland State University, millenials show a strong preference to having a home that’s within walking distance of local amenities. These home buyers, those aged 18 to 34, preferred walking over driving by 12 percentage points.

All age groups saw walkability as a major asset in choosing a home—so much so that 48% of all respondents wanted a small home and yard within walking distance of activities, rather than a large home and yard that required driving to get to events and destinations—assuming prices were similar. Home sellers should keep this in mind when they go to list a smaller home with a great location—make sure not to forget one of the home’s best qualities!

Americans in general also looked for more transportation choices when choosing their new neighborhood. Eighty-five percent of American buyers looked for sidewalks to make sure their home would be walking friendly.

Women in particular showed a strong attraction to walkability, with 61% of those surveyed putting it as an important aspect of their home search.

For a smaller town like Bozeman, having close, walkable neighborhoods will continue to attract homebuyers to Bozeman. Not only can a person walk through the City of Bozeman in complete ease, but the city’s massive trail system provides even more options for the active homebuyer. Bozeman was ranked as the 11th most livable mid-sized town in the US, with transportation as a major factor in the rankings. It sounds like Bozeman is on the right path to keeping itself a walking friendly place that will continue to attract new residents to the area.

 

Source: http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/millennials-want-walkability/

http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2015/07/29/town-s-walkability-becomes-more-key

 

Local Restaurant to be On National Cooking Show

by Tim Hart

For anyone who loves the Cooking Channel, they will get to see a Bozeman restaurant featured on one of its national shows. The Western Café, a steadfast of downtown since the 1930’s, was selected to appear on the channel as a great mom and pop operation that also utilized local Bozeman ingredients.

The café will appear on the Cooking Channel’s show, Pizza Masters. In this case, the Pizza Masters were apparently less interested in pizza, because they asked the café to show them how to make the café’s famous cinnamon rolls along with their biscuits and gravy. The Pizza Masters chose the location for its great food, décor and local atmosphere.

For any non-local visitors to town, the Western Café can be a great place to enjoy some old-time western cooking. As Bozeman has grown, it has done a great job keeping the small mountain town feel that has become so attractive to out of state visitors.

 

Source: http://www.kbzk.com/story/29644437/local-restaurant-to-be-featured-on-national-cable-network

 

Library Receives 300k to Get Mobile Library Rolling

by Tim Hart

In late February, The Bozeman Public Library crafted plans to bring books to local residents who might not be able to make it to the library themselves. Now, with a 300,000 dollar donation, the library is 5/6 of the way to their fundraising goal. The donation came from a private person—really showing Bozeman’s community driven perspective in its essence.

The bookmobile will need anywhere from 9 months to a year to become fully operational and library staff will still need to decide the size of the new mobile library. Current plans include having a wi-fi hotspot along with iPads and laptops to create a true library feel. Of course, the mobile library will also have lots of books that they can distribute to those who cannot make it to the library themselves. Seniors and children have been pointed to as the main target audience.

Bozeman continues to be community focused—making sure the whole community gets access to the best Bozeman can offer. It’s no wonder that so many people continue to choose Bozeman as their top living destination.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/donor-gives-library-for-bozeman-library-bookmobile/article_38d0313d-faa0-5ba6-8d36-532fd7239aec.html

Land off Stucky Road Considered for Annexation

by Tim Hart

Bozeman City Commissioners will vote next Monday on whether to annex a piece of land off Stucky Road in order to zone it for apartment style residences. The commission has seen several bids to annex additional land into the city in the last year. Bozeman continues to find ways to add additional home inventory to keep home values reasonable.

The land off Stucky is currently set for agricultural use and nearby farms are concerned about adding more residential lots on high quality, useable soil. Both farmers and developers made their pleas to the City Zoning Commission and though the zoning commission voted 2-1 against rezoning the parcel, the decision ultimately rests with City Commisioners.

Bozeman continues to search for land and strategies to help keep the real estate in the Gallatin Valley affordable. The city has looked at narrowing lots and has given a high number of building permits to increase inventory. Bozeman will need to strike a healthy balance between keeping prices reasonable and growing in a healthy, planned out manner.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/bozeman-commission-to-consider-stucky-road-annexation/article_5cd77da9-11f6-5bfc-93c3-f206be50835e.html

 

Plans are moving forward with the new College of Engineering Building at Montana State University. The Norm Asbjornson Innovation Center, named after the alumni who donated the $50 million required to fund the project, will be starting construction in Summer 2016 and is scheduled to be completed by Fall of 2018. The building is designed to be the new center of campus, with the sub directly across from it and the new parking garage close by.

The new building will help keep pace with MSU’s reputation as an excellent engineering school. The building will also help keep enough room for the rising enrollment in both the Engineering College and school overall.

The building will be 80 to 100,000 square feet, will have 10 – 15 classrooms, 12 to 16 Engineering labs in addition to faculty offices. Current plans are leaning towards creating a 3 story building w/ the $12 million dollar parking garage behind it. The building is designed to hold a 300 person presentation hall, which will be used for school and community events.

As MSU continues to have high enrollment and continues to attract great students, it seems only logical the school will continue to try to expand its reputation and its campus. MSU provides many real estate related opportunities and having a high prestige will make those opportunities more plentiful and more rewarding.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/msu-ready-to-design-new-engineering-college-building/article_d86f5962-0801-5e91-81f5-2fc1f50a1f89.html

Bozeman Awarded 1 Million for Solar Research

by Tim Hart

In late April, Bozeman planners and commissioners were exploring the possibility of providing solar alternatives to its residents. Early last week, Northwestern Energy awarded the city $1,000,000 to explore the benefits, the utility and likelihood for creating some form of solar program in Bozeman.

The city will team up with the Montana State University to go over potential options for a new solar program. One idea has been to allow customers to tap into a community-based solar system. For ‘opting in” to the solar program, customers will receive a credit on their utility bill without having to pay for expensive solar panels.

Other states, companies and individuals have also used other models and Bozeman will need to figure out which one works best for its unique situation.

Bozeman has tried to stay on the forefronts of technology. They recently approved a fiber-optic project to give Bozeman the highest quality internet available. Looking at solar alternatives will help keep Bozeman beautiful and sustainable.

 

Source: http://www.abcfoxmontana.com/story/29234099/city-of-bozeman-receives-1-million-award-to-research-solar-energy

 

Bozeman Safest Major Town in Montana

by Tim Hart

According to data released by the Bozeman Police Department, Bozeman has the lowest crime rate of any major town in Montana. Bozeman averaged 32.7 crimes per 1,000 residents, 16 crimes below the next closest town. Bozeman has now been honored as the safest major town in the state for 4 of the last 5 years.

Bozeman had the fewest homicides, 0; robberies, 3; aggravated assaults, 36; and burglaries, 71; in the state.

Bozeman has also been improving on its own standards. Bozeman’s overall crime rate dropped from 56.1 crimes per 1,000 residents seen in 2004. In 2014, more than 20 less crimes per 1,000 residents took place. Total arrests for Bozeman dropped 28 percent from 2,800 in 2008 to 2,189 in 2014. Traffic stops also dropped by 30 percent.

Despite Bozeman’s recent growth (nearly 12,000 residents since 1996), property related crimes like theft and burglaries have been going down. With more people living in the Gallatin Valley, it would make sense that property related crimes would go up. However, the local police department has done a great job in general of keeping people’s belongings and valuables safe.

The Bozeman Police Department attributed the low crime rates to the economic stability that has been present in Bozeman of late along with the hard work of local community members and organizations. The department also increased its total officers in 2008, a factor that has been highlighted towards improving local crime rates.

Bozeman continues to lead the way in public safety—one of the main attractors to both in-state and out-of-staters looking to move here.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/crime/bozeman-crime-rates-continue-decline/article_1f10cdbc-08a4-5e23-b83c-4d359e38d7c3.html

 

Potential New Development off Manley Road?

by Tim Hart

Tonight, Bozeman City Commissioners will decide whether re-zoning a piece of land out in the Manley Road area for residential use is feasible and makes sense for the city moving forward. If they decide yes, the owner of the land will move forward developing the area.

The 6.5 acre piece of land in question has had some zoning confusion to say the least—a very boring sounding topic that somehow can end up quite fascinating. Currently, the city has that land designated for future use as parkland. However, the County has the land designated for light industrial use (pretty mutually exclusive from parkland). The best part, neither have actually incorporated the land at all. The city would need to annex the land to develop it and moving to a residential designation would allow them to do so.

The piece of land is surrounded on 3 sides by city limits and access to the nearby recreation area and pond is protected by a permanent easement.

Now, if the situation didn’t sound complicated enough, this very same piece of land used to be used as a dumpsite from 1962 to 1970. Coupled with the poor recent history with dumpsites, what may have been a hard decision for the City of Bozeman got a lot harder. Environmental concerns will be a major factor on whether the new development is approved.

For this specific scenario, we can only hope the city makes a decision that will bring the highest benefit to its residents in the long run and that recent concerns, whether its the dump or current home inventory, will not affect the decision, no matter which way they ultimately decide to go.

From a real estate perspective, this story is a great reminder why its so important to cross every i and dot every t when performing due diligence on any information surrounding a property. How is it zoned? Are there any easements? How was the land used in the past? Some pieces of land (and sometimes homes too!) have had long, deep histories where others may have little to none. With as much land as there is Montana, we get the best of both untouched land and land with deep history.  Make sure you are buying what you want and that you have a realtor who can make sure you are buying a good product.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/bozeman-commission-to-consider-zoning-change-for-development-near-old/article_8b0ccbac-2541-58e7-933d-3aeda25cb4d2.html

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 130

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