Midtown Master Plan Whitepaper Update

Midtown Missoula’s everyday retail, affordable homeownership, and ample parking are characteristics we all love that are associated with a different experience than anywhere else in town. Recent additions to our area like OnX Maps, Notorious P.I.G., Big Dipper, Dram Shop, and Scheels are so exciting! Without proper planning to support increasing demand, we could suffer a fragmented district that lacks a sense of place and adequate infrastructure.
For Midtown to be a healthy neighborhood, we need development to enhance our desirable qualities with transportation networks that allow physical connections, gathering spaces that nurture social connectedness, and greenspace that reduces heat islands, noise, and air pollution. In January of 2020, recognizing the pressing need for cohesion around a vision that embraces our existing character, encourages equitable development, and promotes healthy urbanism, the Midtown Association formed a committee to lay out a path to make a Midtown Masterplan a reality.
To assess the financial feasibility and institutional appetite for a Midtown Masterplan, the committee conducted community leaders’ interviews. The response was overwhelmingly supportive, in no small part due to the success of the Downtown Masterplan. Missoula recognizes this urgent need, and our leaders are willing to fund it.
Planning will require a multi-disciplinary team comprised of civil engineers, traffic engineers, parking specialists, land-use planners, architects, economists, public outreach specialists, historians, cultural experts, art experts, landscape architects, and local stakeholders. To manage this team, the Midtown Association is bringing on an Executive Director – stay tuned for this important announcement!
The estimated project schedule is 18 months, and the project budget is estimated to be $450,000 to $550,000. The project will incorporate a comprehensive strategy to engage public and private businesses, citizens, and stakeholders, emphasizing disenfranchised populations. The deliverable will be an all-inclusive Master Plan in a multi-media format that accomplishes the following project goals:

  • Provide a voice for the people who live in, work in, and utilize Midtown. Create a space for residents, workers, and users to articulate the unique characteristics that should be preserved. 
  • Promote equitable development. Ensure neighborhood balance with factors that promote healthy urbanism like affordable housing and retail, nearby groceries, manufacturing and other living-wage jobs, business incubation space, accessible parks, clean indoor and outdoor environments, quality education and growth opportunities, social gathering spaces, and mobility for all people and modes with reliable and safe transportation connections.
  • Create predictability for private investment. Attract and retain development that meets the community vision for Midtown. Provide a clear path forward, so developers have fewer hurdles when approaching design, permitting, zoning, and regulatory agencies. 
  • Promote a sense of belonging. Nurture the social fabric of Midtown. Promote positive and diverse human interaction. Hone and promote the Midtown brand and drive right-sized business in the area. 
  • Leverage local dollars to attract Federal infrastructure funding. Position Midtown for large capital grants to build transformative infrastructure, such as transit, which serves new and existing populations. Improve the Brooks Street Corridor to meet the multimodal transportation pressures of growth in Midtown, Miller Creek, and the Bitterroot Valley while improving – and not sacrificing – livability. Improve east-west connectivity in Midtown. Build on existing planning initiatives for Midtown. Incorporate previous work. Several studies have been done of the area, each building on the previous effort. 

If you are interested in becoming involved in the planning process, reach out and let us know by emailing midtown@missoulamidtown.com