Small portion of Lions Park considered for sale

A small portion of land in Lions Park, a city-owned park, has been recommended for sale by the Park and Recreation Advisory Board.

Bob Alfred, owner of the Murphy building that boarders the south side of the park and 10th Avenue South, initially wanted to purchase a 12 foot by 10 foot parcel of the park to install an elevator in his building. The current building sits right on the property line with a row of trees about 20 feet from the building that run along the length of the building.

Through discussions with the city, Alfred was asked to instead purchase a 12 foot by 132.5 foot parcel that would prevent a jog in the property boundaries. The appraised value is $9,000 and under the buy/sell agreement, the buyer also pays the closing costs.

The city forester had some concerns about the trees being so close to heavy equipment for the project, but the agreement also includes provisions that the buyer maintain as many trees as possible and grant an access easement to the city for tree maintenance.

The park board originally approved recommendation of the sale to the City Commission, but since the proposed sale details changed, Alfred came back to the board on Monday for a new approval.

The board voted unanimously to recommend that the City Commission approve the sale, which now goes to the Planning Advisory Board/Zoning Commission since following the sale the property will need to be rezoned from parkland to commercial.

The proposal then goes to the City Commission and any parkland sale requires at least four yes votes to pass. Proceeds from parkland sales go back into the park budget.

Other items of note from Park and Recreation:

  • The city has narrowed the applicants for a new Park and Recreation director and candidates will come to Great Falls for interviews in the next month or so.
  • Donations for the KaBoom play structure in West Bank Park exceeded the requirement so the department has some leftover dollars to put toward additional improvements in that park and maintenance of the new amenities.
  • Requests for proposals for a new picnic pavilion are going out soon. That project was included in the 2011 master plan for West Bank Park and is being funded with Community Development Block Grant Funds and by the People’s Park and Recreation Foundation. [West Bank Park master plan improvements nearly complete]
  • Bids are due Sept. 27 for a restaurant or other use to go into the Community Recreation Center space that’s being vacated by The Burger Bunker. [ Burger Bunker, Big Bang Pizza moving to downtown Great Falls “It would be a loss of revenue,” said Patty Rearden, interim park and rec director. “We’re going to need to fill the space.”