Dave McEwan
In the mid 1990s, a large group of Missoulians organized to oppose short-sighted developers who wanted to diminish our precious public commons at Fort Missoula, including the site of the WW2 Internment Camp, by erecting up to 303 units of houses and condos.
The intense drawn-out battle that resulted produced a successful petition drive, referendum vote, and court battles. Divot Development was denied its zoning. And ultimately the state Land Board forced the University to get the land back from the developers and in public ownership.
Next week, on April 5th, the Missoula Historic Preservation Commission will hold a public hearing on the latest assault on Fort Missoula. An out-of-state developer proposes to demolish a historic structure and put in luxury residential townhouses and commercial buildings on the grounds of the Historic Fort Missoula Post Hospital, which was part of the Internment Camp, as well as profiting from rehabilitation of the Hospital building.
The hearing before the Historic Preservation Commission is the first fully public step in what has become another big battle over the future of the Fort. Fifty very passionate comments have appeared so far on the city's engagemissoula.com site. All the comments oppose the developer's plan.
Save the Fort, the citizens group formed in the 1990s, is still committed to preserving the rich heritage of the Fort for the sake of all Missoulians, now and into the future of this ever more populous valley. We urge our fellow citizens to comment, attend the public hearing, and once again Save the Fort.