$8.9 million sports complex proposed in Bozeman


BOZEMAN, Mont. - Two Bozeman sports groups want to use a large portion of the city's parks and trails bond money to build a new sports complex.

The Bozeman Soccer Education Foundation and Gallatin Valley Lacrosse League came up with the idea.

The $8.9 million project would be located on 80 acres at the corner of Flanders Mill Road and Baxter Lane. When complete it would have 22 fields and an indoor facility.

Allen May represents the Bozeman Soccer Education Foundation and helped write the proposal submitted to Bozeman Parks, Open Spaces and Trails.

"We feel like the community came out with the bond in a really strong way to support a sports complex," Allen says.

He says he sees it as an investment in the community, "The benefits of this are not only great for our kids but for our economy."

May cites the revenue garnered by tournaments in Montana cities like Great Falls, and says he hopes to hold similar events at the complex.

But Allen also understands the responsibility that comes with making such a proposal.

He acknowledges, "People want to make sure the money is spent well."

NBC Montana wanted to know more about the proposal, so we visited Jeff Graff, manager of the Bozeman Trails, Open Spaces and Parks program, also known as the TOPs committee. It's the TOPs committee's job to review proposals that want to use open space bond money.

"The committee's pretty receptive at this point," says Graff.

This project would rely heavily on open space bond money. Its price tag would take up about 60 percent of the $15 million dollar bond.

Graff tells us the TOPs committee has approved it in their step one, or rough cut, evaluation.

He says, "They're certainly interested in pursuing this and evaluating further."

Next comes obtaining funds to analyze and report the infrastructure cost to the city.

Graff explains, "If the committee is interested in pursuing the project, they will advance it on to the commission for their full consideration."

We visited a neighborhood close to the proposed site for reactions to the proposal.

Residents declined to speak on camera, but one said they were against the park, citing increased traffic. Most, however, thought it would be great for the community.

Backers need city committee members to sign off on three separate studies. One to analyze costs and impact on infrastructure, another to see how it fits into the park and trail system, and the third to give it final approval before returning the project to the city commission.

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