Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) A new park and trail loop in the growing Mullan area will break ground this fall and finish construction early next year, Missoula County said.

Commissioners approved expending roughly $31,000 from the 2015 Parks and Trails Bond to help construct the New Meadows trail and park. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks also awarded $62,000 from its Recreational Trails Program.

“This project has been many years in the making now,” said Jackson Lee, the county’s parks and trails specialist. “We anticipate two phases, with work beginning this fall and wrapping up early next year.”

The New Meadows trail system will serve as a one-half mile loop in a new 8-acre park off Mullan Road. The project will also tie into the trail system planned as part of the neighboring BUILD project in the greater Mullan area.

The BUILD project master-planned the area’s infrastructure and, alongside a new road network, it included trails and the restoration of Grant Creek. The new park will abut the New Meadows and El Mar subdivisions.

“The two highest scoring community priorities out of the planning process were low-impact development and the development of a walking loop trail,” said Lee. “We’re seeing a real need within this park and surrounding neighborhood to have a space for recreation.”

Voters approved the $42 million Parks and Trails bond in 2014 and Missoula County set aside roughly $3 million for projects outside the city limits. The allocation of $31,000 was provided as a match to the state grant to fund the New Meadows project.

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