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LWCF and city allocation to preserve, improve Westside Park in Missoula

Efforts to preserve greenspace in the Westside neighborhood in perpetuity received a funding boost on Wednesday when the Missoula City Council approved a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant agreement to move the project forward.

The $457,000 state grant will match the same amount approved by the city and cover the project’s $915,000 cost. Missoula County Public Schools owns the property and was a co-signer to the grant agreement.

“I’m excited to get this moving forward,” said council member Amber Sherrill. “It’s a great thing for the community and that side of town.”

The funding package covers the cost of renovating Westside Park, including new and accessible playground equipment that will serve the low- to moderate-income neighborhood.

The grant application sought to promote “active and passive play, physical development, social skills, social equity, sense of community, inclusion for all abilities and access to the outdoors.”

“This is a pretty big deal for the city in general and the Westside neighborhood,” said council member Heidi West, who represents the area. “The requirement of this funding source is that this land is protected as a public outdoor recreation space in perpetuity. Even though this land has functioned as a park for as long as anyone can remember, it’s actually owned by MCPS and could change from what it is today.”

The agreement secures the park for public use in perpetuity.