Tuesday, September 29, 2020
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Kalispell mulls redevelopment of downtown parking lot

by BRET ANNE SERBIN
Daily Inter Lake | September 14, 2020 12:00 AM

The Kalispell City Council will hold a virtual work session tonight to discuss the redevelopment of the parking lot near Valley Bank in downtown Kalispell.

The Zoom videoconference begins at 7 p.m. The public will be able to watch the work session online and submit public comments during the work session as well.

The first discussion item is a draft request for proposals to redevelop the parking lot near Valley Bank at the northwest corner of Main Street and Third Street West.

Kalispell’s Downtown Plan, approved by the council in 2017, stipulates “the need to redevelop city-owned surface parking lots into more beneficial uses to eliminate blight and increase tax base,” according to the work session agenda.

The Downtown Plan lays out three options to redevelop such parking lots: selling surface parking lots to a private developer for redevelopment; granting or gifting a surface lot to a private developer who enters into an agreement with certain stipulations; or a land swap with a property owner who desires a more beneficial location in exchange for property they own in a less visible area.

Therefore, the city is now looking into requests for proposals to redevelop the Valley Bank lot along these guidelines. This property was chosen because of its high visibility location along Main Street and its inclusion in the Downtown Tax Increment Financing District.

“Redevelopment of this property will further the city’s mission of promoting economic growth, improving area employment opportunities and expanding tax base,” the agenda states.

THE SECOND discussion item for Monday’s work session is the potential reallocation of $500,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Kalispell was awarded these federal funds to provide a “benefit to low and moderate income persons; aid in prevention or elimination of slums or blight; or meet a need having a particular urgency,” according to HUD guidelines.

The city has historically used these funds to distribute small loans to Kalispell businesses. However, the agenda states, “given the limited ability for city staff to make small business loans, it is prudent to discuss the potential reallocation of the funds.”

The agenda does not include possible use of options for the reallocated funds. Instead, it states, “There are a number of potential projects where the monies could be reallocated to create a lasting benefit to the community while meeting the national objectives.”

To sign up for the Zoom work session, which starts at 7 p.m. Monday evening, go to https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_bLuyHTeoT-OkfIq-fHfuEA. Public comments will also be accepted by email at publiccomment@kalispell.com.

Reporter Bret Anne Serbin may be reached at (406)-758-4459 or bserbin@dailyinterlake.com.