MRA Officials Answer Questions About Missoula’s TIF Program
Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The Missoula Redevelopment Agency is one of the most mysterious and misunderstood agencies of city government, and on a recent KGVO Talk Back show, MRA Deputy Director Annie Gorski and Communications Director Maci MacPherson spent an hour answering listeners’ questions and concerns about the MRA.
Gorski began by explaining the purpose of the MRA.
“The Missoula Redevelopment Agency is a department of the city,” began Gorski. “We were formed in 1978. The purpose was to implement the city's tax increment financing program, to invest in public improvements in our community that align with the priorities and plans which guide our work, which are those six urban renewal plans, as well as to align with the city's strategic plan to implement public projects in our community.”
Having Trouble Understanding the Missoula Redevelopment Agency?
Gorski said projects are established to achieve certain goals within the city to enhance urban renewal in what are considered ‘blighted’ areas.
“We are focused on implementing the projects in the exit plan, so Urban Renewal Two is the district that is next to close in 2031,” she said. “So that’s for the next eight years, and we're working to get the projects in that are left in that urban renewal district plan to complete those. That includes the MRL (Montana Rail Link) trestle and potential conversion of that trestle for bikes and pedestrians across the river to Silver Park and the (Paddleheads) stadium area.”
Gorski looked ahead at more MRA projects currently in the planning stages.
“Hopefully selling and redeveloping the Sleepy Inn (Motel) site that's working on some improvements along our riverfront, that’s the Clark Fork River in combination with the city's parks department and Trout Unlimited,” she said. “We’re focusing on erosion and stabilization of the riverbank, some missing trail connections and a number of other things.”
One of the Topics Discussed was the RAISE Project and Workforce Housing
During the City Talk program, Maci MacPherson introduced the RAISE project (‘The U.S. Department of Transportation's Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity program) and the effort to build what is referred to as ‘workforce housing’.
“Maci mentioned the RAISE grant, so working with our public works department and parks and the community on carrying that forward,” she said. “Finally another piece that we're working on is workforce housing. Recently the state legislature added some language to the statute, the rules that guide our work with urban renewal that allows us to invest directly into housing if there is an income restricted component. So workforce, meaning people working in our community, they're ensuring that they can afford housing in our community.”
Details on plans for the old Fox Theater Site
According to the City of Missoula website ‘The Fox (Theater) Site is located along the north shore of the Clark Fork River at the southwest corner of the intersection of Orange and West Front Streets. The city, through MRA, has prepared the Fox Site to accommodate a model multi-use development which will be the anchor of the west entrance to the downtown core and the east entry to the West Broadway corridor. The city has directed MRA to seek an appropriate private development team to realize this vision.’