Bozeman City Commission to move forward with two aquatics facility proposals


BOZEMAN, Mont. - Bozeman City Council discussed Monday night which location they'd like to see new a aquatics facility built.

The Bozeman City Commission decided Monday night to eliminate the proposed MDT site, continue negotiations with the YMCA, and keep both Baxter and Rose Park open for consideration.

There were three proposed sites: 1. Rose Park, off of Oak Street. 2. The 900 block of Rouse; the same land the city wants to use for a new Law and Justice Center. 3. Off of Baxter and Vaquero, an undeveloped area that is the site of the proposed new YMCA. The Assistant City Manager walked the Commission through the pros and cons of each proposed site. Here's how the city broke down their choices. Bozeman City Commission considered five factors when they looked at each of the three proposed aquatic center sites: community access, visibility along major routes, approximately five acres for the facility and parking, existing infrastructure available (like water, sewer, and streets), and suitable zoning. The MDT site is on 907 North Rouse. This is also the proposed site for a new police facility. It is listed as the least expensive plan. That's because the Department of Transportation already has amenities like sewer and water hookups, so the cost of utilities and construction would be much lower. It's also in the heart of town. But, they say this site would have little or no room for future expansion, and limited access for pedestrians and bikers. The second site is at Rose Park, near 27th Avenue. This is a 20.5 acre city park. The city said this would be a good location because it is a city owned park and property, so Bozeman wouldn't have to make any agreements or contracts with other partners. However, most of the park is wetlands and floodplain. They said dealing with the wetlands would increase the cost by more then $700,000. The third site would be a partnership with the YMCA at the site off Baxter and Vaquero. The city has negotiated with the YMCA to create a community center with the YMCA and aquatics facility in the same building. Drawbacks of this plan include complicated construction and worries about the YMCA and the city not having all the funds ready at the same time, possibly slowing down construction. A number of people spoke out during public comment. Many supported the YMCA plan because they said it'd be a great community partnership. Mayor Sean Becker supported the YMCA partnership, explaining that Bozeman is explaining to the West, and this location would create the least liability for the city and serve the greatest population. Deputy Mayor Jeff Krauss also supported the YMCA partnership, agreeing that Bozeman needs more amenities on the West side of town. Commissioner Chris Mehl was in favor of the Rose Park site, saying it would be a good location and the city and the YMCA don't need a partnership to be successful. Commissioner Cyndy Andurs supported Rose Park, expressing concern about the YMCA being in the "driver's seat" if they were to partner. Commissioner Carson Taylor was unsure about which site was best, but learned more toward Rose Park because he wanted to go to a place with potential to expand. None of the commissioners were in favor of the Rouse site, and agreed to eliminate it from consideration. All of the commissioners were interested in trying to move the YMCA partnership to Rose Park rather than the site off Baxter.