Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) The Metropolitan Planning Organization will help fund the creation of an infrastructure plan for the Wye to ensure it includes trails, transit and connectivity.

Missoula County is expected to approve an agreement with the city next week to share the funding as the planning effort moves forward.

“The MPO pitched some money to us to make sure we have a complete streets perspective for that plan, and that we think about it a little bit more from a regional sense,” Andrew Hagemeier said Monday. “They'll help pay for that as part of the analysis.”

The land-use element adopted by the county in 2019 identifies areas around the Wye as suited for urban-scale development. Among other things, it calls for more than eight dwelling units per acre, along with a blend of commercial and industrial services, and a proper road grid.

But the infrastructure needed to support such development doesn't yet exist. A number of landowners around the Wye are looking to develop their property, and an infrastructure plan is needed to ensure the growth is connected and orderly.

“The MPO is great at helping out the county with plans within their boundary,” said Hagemeier. “Since we've got some city money and some county money, it's always good to have an agreement with how that's handled.”

The city and county also combined to create an infrastructure plan for the Sxwtpqyen area, which is expected to see several thousand housing units over the next decade.

The county expects the Wye to follow. Several large subdivisions have already been approved or are proposed for the area including O'Keefe Ranch Estates, which includes 192 lots; Riverside, which covers 160 acres; and Gallatin Estates, which covers 33 acres and includes 70 lots.