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Commission approves funding for public open lands projects

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Peet's Hill at Burke Park is one of the three projects approved for Open Lands Program funding and improvements. PHOTO BY MIRA BRODY

GALLATIN COUNTY COMMISSION

GALLATIN COUNTY – The Gallatin County Commission approved using Open Lands Program money to help fund three projects, including the expansion of Burke Park on Peets Hill and improvements to the Gallatin County Regional Park and Anderson Dog Park in Bozeman.

On Tuesday, April 26, commissioners voted unanimously to spend $172,900 total on the following projects:

1. Burke Park (Peet’s Hill) expansion and improvement project – City of Bozeman – $100,000

  • To assist with the acquisition of 12 acres at the south end of Peets Hill

2. Gallatin County Regional Park protected “quiet area” – Gallatin County Parks – $40,000

  • Construction of tree-lined, landscaped area at the Regional Park

3. Anderson Dog Park fetch field and trail repair project – Run Dog Run – $32,900

  • Improvements to off-leash dog park and Regional Park, including development of fetch field and trail reconstruction

Commissioners praised the projects as ones that have high value for the public and that have shown extensive collaborative efforts to move forward.

“We think these are awesome community projects that benefit tens of thousands of county residents,” said Gallatin County Commissioner Zach Brown.

Money for these projects comes from the voter-approved Gallatin County Open Space Levy, which was passed in 2018. This levy provides funding for conservation projects, such as conservation easements for private landowners, as well as “other eligible projects.” Projects in the “other eligible projects” category must be related to land acquisition, capital improvements and maintenance projects that support the purpose of the Open Space Levy.

For fiscal year 2022, a total of $1.69 million was collected from the levy for conservation projects, while approximately $391,000 was available for “other eligible projects.”

Brown said that the county’s open lands program provides an undeniable community benefit, but that projects like conservation easements on private land don’t provide public access.

“This category of funding gives us a way to support public open space,” Brown said.

Following an application process, the Open Lands Board scored the submitted proposals and recommended these three projects for approval.

“It is exciting to play a role in a process where the county funds projects that will provide a tangible and lasting public benefit,” said Sean O’Callaghan, Gallatin County open land coordinator.

More information on the projects, including applications and scoring, can be found here.

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