MCPS, City develop new master plan for Westside Park
Missoula Parks and Recreation and Missoula County Public Schools have developed a draft master plan for Westside Park. A master park plan guides future park development and is a comprehensive community vision for the park.
At a January, 2019 public open house, Parks and Recreation presented the proposed master park plan, summarized the design process to date and explained the next steps for park development. When the final master park plan is approved, Parks and Recreation can pursue funding for park development through the City budget, state and federal grants, impact fees and private and public partnerships.
The draft plan includes a new playground, which will be designed in part by local play experts—the Westside neighborhood kids who’ll be using it. Last fall, 310 students from Lowell Elementary participated in a playground study, which included a field trip to six different playgrounds throughout the City. Kids had a chance to play on the features at each playground and tell park planners and MCPS staff which of those elements they would like to see in their own school playground. Park designers will use the study to gain valuable insight into how children interact with each other and with the various play features in each park.
Westside Park’s existing wood playground was constructed in 1989 through a community-wide fundraising and build project. Playground safety inspectors contracted by the City have determined the structure has reached the end of its natural life expectancy, and they recommend it be replaced as soon as possible. In Missoula’s harsh winter climate, wood playgrounds of this type have a typical life span of 15 to 20 years. Parks and Recreation plans to salvage and re-use some of the existing playground’s elements and artwork where feasible.
Funding for the new playground will come from the City, MCPS and private fundraising. Westside Park is located on land owned by MCPS and leased to the City of Missoula, which operates and maintains the park.
For more information, contact Nathan McLeod, Parks & Trails Design/Development Coordinator at 552-6261 or via email.