As happens with many community locations, especially when they incorporate the often-changing business world, destinations we thought would always be there can suddenly vanish.

But in the case of one popular spot on Missoula's Westside, community leaders are using change to follow new ideas and visions.

Now, the North Missoula Community Development Corporation is inviting the neighborhood to gather next week and brainstorm about the future of the favorite Burns Street Community Center.

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A new phase

The Burns Street Community Center was developed in 2008, with a project that converted an old FedEx warehouse to a new gathering center for the Westside. The project was largely driven by a survey that showed local residents wanted more local food businesses in their neighborhood.

Dennis Bragg photo
Dennis Bragg photo

That led to the well-loved Burns Street Bistro, which closed last year as one of many eateries impacted by changes in the first service industry, bringing an end to popular dishes like the "Dirt Bag Dinner" and other creations. (Although they have continued their catering business).

READ MORE: Burns Street Bistro Offered One-of-a-Kind Menu

Soft Landings' "United We Eat" program has taken over that space. But the NMCDC says there are other times when the building is available for community activities.

Dennis Bragg photo
Dennis Bragg photo

They want your ideas

Next Tuesday, a "neighborhood visioning event" will be held from 6 to 8 pm to discuss ideas for making full use of the building. Suggestions have already included ideas like a "co-working" space, a community garden or greenhouse, or one of the popular "free stores."

While those plans are being explored and developed, Burns Street Community Center remains open for non-profits and private parties to use for a fee, or at no charge for community organization meetings.

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Gallery Credit: Ashley

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