Missoula Parks and Recreation is hosting in-person and virtual open houses and has posted an online survey to solicit residents’ ideas for a new community center in McCormick Park.
Residents are invited to the community center in-person open house on Thursday, June 17, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at McCormick Park. Childcare for ages four and up will be available from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the drop-in-style event. Participants will help develop the project vision, learn about the planning process, meet the project design team and discuss which amenities, services and spaces they would like to see in a community center.
The proposed Currents Center for Recreation and Creativity would be constructed as an addition to Currents Aquatics Center to host recreational and social programs for all ages, incomes and ability levels. The open houses and online survey are part of an extensive public process to develop a conceptual master plan for the facility. The plan will represent the community’s vision for the project and set a course for future development. A comprehensive master plan allows the City to seek project funding via public and private partnerships, state and federal grants, developer impact fees and the City budget.
For those unable to attend the June 17 event, Parks and Recreation is hosting a virtual open house at www.engagemissoula.com from June 18 to July 1. Residents may also complete the public opinion/needs survey at Engage Missoula through June 28.
Parks and Recreation Director Donna Gaukler encourages residents to get involved in the project’s design. “Early input will inform the design team of your most important priorities for your community center. Early in the process, you’ll have the greatest influence on the design of spaces and the building itself. We appreciate your engagement and hope you will encourage others to participate.”
Gaukler says residents will have additional opportunities for input when the design team shares the draft plan this fall. The City has contracted with MMW Architects for initial design and architectural services; developer impact fees fund the $120,000 contract.
For decades, Missoulians have identified the need for indoor recreation space to provide opportunities to lead healthy lifestyles and come together as a community regardless of the weather, Gaukler says. “The 2003 McCormick Park Master Plan includes a community center in Phase 2 of park development. Residents have long discussed the need for a flexible, multi-use indoor facility to support active lifestyles in an equitable, multigenerational, and inclusive atmosphere. We’re designing a public space that can host recreational, cultural, and social activities for all ages, incomes and ability levels in a safe, year-round environment,” she added.
Learn more about the project, view the virtual open house and take the survey at www.engagemissoula.com. More on the history and scope of the Center is available at www.missoulacommunitycenter.org. The rainout location for the June 17 event is Parks and Recreation Base Camp, in the former public library at 301 E. Main.
The Engage Missoula site also features a place to ask questions about the project and a link to sign up for project updates. Call 721-PARK (7275) for more information.