With the Glacier Ice Rink in use from 5:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. seven days a week in a building they share with the 4-H and FFA for their activities, plans are being made to ask the Missoula County Community for a new facility on the Missoula County Fairgrounds.

Appearing Thursday on the KGVO Talk Back show were Clarence Wildeboer, along with Jon Turner and his son Gus to talk about the project that was originally intended to be presented two years ago.

“We were ready to present to the commissioners at the time, but the COVID pandemic struck and obviously we recognized that that was not the right time for the community,” began Wildeboer. “So we stepped back and so now we're coming back to the table with what will be a $19 million investment in the community, on the county fairgrounds campus for some additional green space on the fairgrounds for that unique livestock building, and a third sheet of ice. Again, those facilities will be available and accessible and usable year round.”

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Local businessman and entrepreneur Jon Turner emphasized the fact that the bond will be presented for the entire county, and not just the city of Missoula.

“This asset we're asking about is a county ask,” said Turner. “It's not just a city ask. We're asking every resident in the entire Missoula County which includes Potomac, Seeley Lake, and goes all the way around the county, and that to me is so poignant. that in the heart of Missoula we've got this agricultural heritage. We've got these buildings that were built by people like us 100 years ago with this vision and who knew right? So, we're just continuing what they started.”

Turner, whose son Gus has achieved a high level in 4-H and the FFA, talked about many of the programs offered by 4-H in Missoula County.

“4-H has 100 programs for kids,” he said. “That’s 100 programs, including sewing, cooking, rockets, Legos, and I can't even name them all. The kids are involved in activities that are happening in people's basements, and in different buildings in our schools. We could do a lot of that stuff right at the fairgrounds, in conjunction with other clubs. I mean, just that potential for growth and collaboration is amazing.”

Wildeboer said several groups are collaborating to prepare the proposed $19 million bond issue.

“We're in the works,” he said. “4-H, FFA groups together with the county fairgrounds and the ice community with the Glacier Ice Rink are together collaborating to pull the package together and we will present to the commissioners a proposal and a request to put on the ballot. Statistically, 4-H members are far more likely to give back to their community in life than those who have not participated in 4-H. So if I had my dream every eligible kid in Missoula that has an interest would participate in 4-H today.”

Click here to listen to the entire Talk Back presentation.

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