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LibbyMt.com > News > July 2010 > Riverfront Park improvements moving ahead

Riverfront Park. Photo by Kootenai Valley Record.
Riverfront Park

Kootenai Valley Record. Photo by Kootenai Valley Record.
Kootenai Valley Record
Riverfront Park improvements moving ahead
by Brent Shrum, Kootenai Valley Record
July 15, 2010

The first step in a project to greatly expand and improve Libby’s Riverfront Park could be taken this summer if the Montana Department of Transportation gives the city the green light to relocate City Service Road.

"That will dictate how the rest of the park goes, once we get that road in," said city administrator Jim Hammons.

Plans call for a new approach from Highway 37, slightly closer to town than the existing approach. The road would then take a turn toward the railroad tracks before curving back around the west side of the park. The result would be a massive expansion of park space between the road and the Kootenai River.

Initial plans for the park project were drawn up last September by Columbia Falls landscape architect Bruce Lutz of Sitescape Associates based on various proposals that had been suggested. Following input from the community and the city council, several changes have been made to the design.

The updated design leaves the David Thompson Search & Rescue barn in its current location. The original plan was to relocate the building, but that was determined to be too difficult and too expensive, Hammons said.

Parking for the Fred Brown Pavilion has been moved closer to the structure for better access, and more parking has been added along the side of the road.

A children’s play area has also been added to the design.

Retained from the original plan are a band gazebo, improved boat launching facilities, and a retail shop area next to the rail spur.

City officials have discussed the project with representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure compatibility with the agency’s plans to finish cleanup of asbestos-contaminated vermiculite on the portion of the site remaining to be developed.

"The city council has been talking to the EPA and working with them so the cleanup can be part of the park plan for the future," Hammons said.

Editor’s Note: See the July 13, 2010 edition of the Kootenai Valley Record for the printed version of this story. The Kootenai Valley Record publishes once a week, on Tuesdays, in Libby, Montana. They are a locally owned community newspaper, located at 403 Mineral Avenue in Libby. For in-county and out-of-county subscription information, call 406-293-2424, or e-mail kvrecord@gmail.com.

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