Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) The City of Missoula plans to restore a portion of Caras Park used for the last two years to stage construction equipment needed to renovate the Bear Tracks Bridge.

Lucy Rummler, a trails specialist with Parks and Recreation, said the $101,000 contract awarded to Advanced Lawn Care will be paid for using funding provided in an agreement with NorthWestern Energy and the Montana Department of Transportation.

“For the last two years, MDT has been using a portion of east Caras Park for staging construction on the Bear Tracks Bridge,” Rummler said Wednesday. “Parks signed an agreement with MDT in 2019 in order to grant this use for the park in exchange for payment for damages incurred and site restoration.”

For the last year, Northwestern Energy also has used a portion of the park to stage equipment as it renovated a power substation. The city signed an agreement with the utility in 2022 that included compensation for damages and site restoration.

Rummler said both companies will vacate the site in early May, just in time for the downtown district's slate of summer events.

“It's important we can commence site restoration as soon as they move out so we can get the park usable again,” Rummler said.

The city received two qualified bidders for the restoration work and chose Advanced Lawn Care. The contract includes replacing old irrigation lines and planting new trees and sod, among other things.

Rummler said MDT already has paid its share of the work while NorthWestern Energy has paid a portion. She said the power company will be invoiced for the remaining amount.