Consultants offer ideas for Hamilton downtown masterplan


HAMILTON, Mont. - The city of Hamilton is mulling over ideas on ways to improve its business climate and aesthetic appeal.

Consultants offered suggestions on a downtown master plan at a town hall meeting.

A major idea is to create a more attractive and visible gateway from Highway 93 onto Main Street. That could include more green space, art work and lighting. The city wants to fill vacant business space.

Consultants said it is important to reach out to outside business interests, and to businesses already here.

"Because three-quarters of job growth, whether it be retail or industrial," said economic consultant Mary Bosch, "is going to come from people already in business."

"We'd improve the signage," said landscape consultant Sandy Fischer, "we'd do some kind of iconic art feature and landscaping. We'd try to contrast with the visual clutter of 93."

The Downtown Association, the Business Improvement District, and the City of Hamilton, will review the consultants information in coming weeks.

The master plan is now being written by the consultants. It's expected there will be a draft plan in about six weeks.

The final document will be presented to the city council for final adoption in June.

Citizen focus groups have been working with consultants for five months. Hundreds of local shoppers, businesses and industries have taken part.

The city paid $50,000 for the consultants' work.