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Westside of Bozeman to get a 3-in-1 Community Center estimated to cost $95 million



Montana – The three cities of Belgrade, Livingston, and Bozeman all share the endeavor of constructing a recreation or aquatics facility. A $50 million aquatics center is planned for Belgrade, an $18 million recreation center for Livingston, and a projected $95 million three-in-one community center for Bozeman.

“To drive all the way out this way for the library. It does take a bit. It’s a long drive for me,” says Bozeman resident Jessica Kelly.

Like many library users I spoke with, Jessica Kelly claims she didn’t know much about the community center idea.

“I haven’t really heard a whole lot of rumors about it yet,” says Kelly.

Like others, Kelly claims that she is quite receptive to the concept of adding facilities in Bozeman.

“I’ve lived in this town, this area, for over 30 plus years, and it’s something that’s needed. I think this is all about creativity,” says Kelly.

A new community center for Bozeman’s west side is in the works.

“The plan right now is recreation center, aquatic Center and a branch library. So all in one, all one facility, one,” says Bozeman Parks and Recreation Director, Mitch Overton.

The center’s location is still up in the air, but with features like swimming pools, climbing walls, and a basketball court, the cost will be expensive.

“The cost estimate is almost 95 million,” says Overton.

In order to pay for the facility, voters will be asked to approve a bond in the November election; however, some areas of the center will be pay-per-use.

“Library services which operate on a free model. And then you do have ticketed areas such as the rec center and the aquatic center with aquatics, which are fairly significant lap pool, indoor leisure water park and with the rec component, you’ll be pushing 100,000 square feet,” says Overton.

People I spoke to at the library say they are happy to have such a project in their community, but many are concerned about the exorbitant cost.

“What we want to do is listen as carefully as we can to the public input and then on our part, do the best we can to deliver a project that has as much value as possible. And to respect the fact that it’s a great deal of money. Yes. And it’s a big commitment on the part of the community,” says Library Director, Susan Gregory.

Kelly, on the other side, says that the city has long overdue for such a project.

“I think, you know, if you’re putting that kind of money into an area or center like this, that is for the community and that will benefit the community, I’m definitely all for it,” says Kelly.

The city will release the renderings later this month at Gallatin High School when they will have a clearer notion of location and pricing, so what happens next? Directors tell me that things will move quite quickly. Later this spring, the city commissioners will finish the bond language so that it is prepared for the November 2023 election.

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