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City Club Missoula - Missoula County Fairgrounds: Development director Emily Bentley outlines new projects

June 12, 2017View for printing

Missoula Fairground renovation plans released

Plans for years worth of renovations to the Missoula County Fairgrounds were revealed to local stakeholders at City Club Missoula's monthly meeting Monday.

The Missoula County Fairgrounds as we know them today were purchased by County Commissioners in 1913 for only $16,000. Now over 100 years later, the Fairgrounds host over 500 events a year including the Western Montana Fair, which about 67,000 people attended last year.

By Don Fisher

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County approves plan for fairgrounds ... ounds-plan/


City Club Missoula - Missoula County Fairgrounds: Development director Emily Bentley outlines new projects

Emily Bentley, Missoula County's director of fairgrounds development, gave a presentation on Monday to City Club Missoula on the future of the huge site in the center of town. She illustrated how the fairgrounds, which were built in 1913, have become such a special and important place for the entire community. She also listed the numerous challenges in going forward with an ambitious plan to upgrade the site so that all stakeholders are happy.

As soon as next year, construction could begin on $20 million or more worth of new projects at the Missoula County Fairgrounds, including a new learning center, 3,000 feet of bike/pedestrian trails, perimeter landscaping and 10 acres of open space and other amenities.

Whether it happens depends on what the Missoula County Board of Commissioners decides this August.


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Fairgrounds to get $20M makeover in early redevelopment phase

Emily Bentley, who outlined the plan during Monday's monthly City Club Missoula meeting, took the job as the fairgrounds' new development director in January. Since that time, she has met with numerous user groups and detailed the property's redevelopment plan, one that will cost more than $25 million over 10 years.

Phase 1 of that effort will start as early as next year and include needed utility upgrades and renovation to several historic buildings. It will also include construction of a new maintenance shop, the learning center, and perimeter landscaping and fencing.

Martin Kidston

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