City of Bozeman buys land for expansion of Bozeman Pond Park


BOZEMAN, Mont. - The City of Bozeman has officially taken over land for a new park, and shelled out the first bit of money from the $15 million Open Space and Trails bond. The city bought 9 acres just north of Bozeman Pond Park from the Gallatin Valley Land Trust on Monday. The land cost $600,000. Residents enjoyed a warm spring day at Bozeman Pond Park on Wednesday. "I think this park is awesome," said resident Sarah Anne Daley. "It's really fun to have a big pond, and I think the area of green grass is really nice." But some residents explained the area is in need of more recreational opportunities, because of all the expansion on the west side of town. "It's kind of unfortunate because people are stuck in the suburbs and all this housing so you can't go out and ride your bike for a couple miles, and have a good trail," explained resident Tracy Echert. "If we could get a really long bike trail or riding trail and more of that, it would be good for our side of town." And the City of Bozeman is on the same page. Earlier this week, the city bought nine acres of land from the Gallatin Valley Land Trust to expand Bozeman Pond Park. GVLT Executive Director Penelope Pierce explained it is in an effort to fill a void on the west side of town. "The west side of town is the part of town that's really growing right now," Pierce said. "There's a lot more homes out there, there's a lot more people, and there aren't any big parks out there." Pierce said GVLT and the city are already brainstorming how to design the park, including a dog park, stream restoration, natural classrooms, and new picnic areas. The City of Bozeman will soon send out surveys asking residents how they would like the space transformed. "We want the community to be involved in what's going to happen in this park, what do they see, what do they want," Pierce said. "Their money helped to fund it, so they're going to be a part of that process." Residents like Sarah Anne Daley, who live on the west side, said they hope to see more of what's already at Bozeman Pond. "Just more space for Frisbee and even big trees, more pond would be cool," Daley said. "More swimming area would be sweet, soccer fields, anything to keep kids active," said Echert. And they are excited to enjoy the new land when it's developed.

"I think it is set up well," said resident Sean Hawksford, "and buying more land for a park is a step in the right direction." Once work is complete, trails will connect the Bozeman Pond to the new land for a total of 24 acres, making it one of the largest city parks. In May, the city will release a public survey and hold two listening sessions to hear what residents want in the new park land.