Out With The Old (Post) And In With The Historic Plaza Upgrade And Footwear Company

by William Skink

Change is happening fast and furious in mountain town Missoula, so I thought I’d compile a few notable announcements from just the past 24 hours. Try to keep up.

The Old Post announced on Facebook (where all good things go to die) that Halloween 2019 will be its last night of operation in downtown Missoula. I fondly recall many hungover brunches with friends during the college days, and late summer evenings on the back patio. I even had a few kitchen monkey friends who worked there briefly and thankfully survived the debauchery.

What’s going to replace the Old Post? Does Lord Checota own the building yet? Can we call this part of downtown Missoula (North Higgins) something cool, like NoHig? Or how about the Noggins District? So many important questions for our local media to report on.

Moving along…

Did you hear that our County leaders, who always act so dire around budget time about cost of stuff going up and deferred projects and such, like this from last September:

The Missoula County Commissioners recently approved the new 2020 budget that includes an eight percent overall tax increase.

Commissioner Dave Strohmaier was direct in explaining the commission’s decision; no more kicking the can down the road.

“Before we even got our revenue figures from the state of Montana Department of revenue we were looking at what were the costs necessary to sustain the exact level of services that we provided and delivered to the public the prior year,” said Strohmaier. “We have expenses going up by virtue of negotiated union contracts and the basic cost of business is going up, so that’s part of it.”

Strohmaier said one aspect of the increase deals with items that have been neglected over the years.

“This is something I’ve been concerned about for a few years, since I’ve been on the commission, is what things have we deferred maintenance on or have kicked the can down the road,” he said. “The day of reckoning has come. In some respects we have come to that point.”

Strohmaier goes on to reference the additional law enforcement hires both the County and City can’t seem to keep up with as Missoula grows and grows. Essential services always seem to be the topic of conversation around budget time to justify tax increases. I guess because telling the tax-paying public there’s always 2.5 million laying around for a cool “historic plaza upgrade” at the Fairgrounds doesn’t sound as compelling.

I’m not sure exactly what constitutes a “historic plaza upgrade” or even that the County fairgrounds had a historic plaza in the first place. So why exactly is this something that needs to be funded to the tune of 2.5 million dollars? Because Emily Bentley wants there to be weddings there, like all year round and stuff. Cool.

“We want to create a park-like atmosphere with flexible, multi-use spaces so that we can accommodate all kinds of events like weddings and dog shows,” explained fairgrounds director Emily Brock. “Our goal is to have it be a beautiful space that’s rentable for weddings and events all year long and add another revenue stream.”

That sounds super awesome. Thanks Emily for giving Missoula the gift of your super awesome vision for a historic plaza upgrade.

Moving along…

In-land migration of people from west coast cities is a real thing, and those with the capital to relocate find housing markets like Missoula very affordable.

Well, fresh from MC, we have a report about an entire company packing its bags and heading for Missoula. And guess where they’re coming from? SAN FRANCISCO! Isn’t that great Missoula!!!

Here’s some of the barfy PR reporting:

Bedrock was founded by Nick Pence and Dan Opalacz and is currently located in greater San Francisco. It currently operates from a solar-powered warehouse.

Pence said the company wanted close access to the outdoors and a more sustainable atmosphere from which to grow its business. Missoula fit the company’s “ethos and lifestyle.”

“We wanted a place with better backyard access to rivers and mountains, a more affordable cost of living, and more seasons for testing and developing new footwear,” he said. “Missoula’s down to earth feel, outdoor recreation, and sense of community hit all the marks.”

Don’t worry everyone, Bedrock flip-flop is already active in paying off local non-profits to bless and anoint their arrival.

According to Wednesday’s announcement, Bedrock will move its team to Missoula in early 2020. It already has begun forming partnerships and investing in the community.

Big Sky Fulfillment, a Missoula distribution company located near the airport, will handle inventory and distribution for Bedrock. Through its environmental stewardship efforts, Bedrock also has started contributing to Missoula-based organizations, including the Clark Fork Coalition and Adventure Cycling.

(Psst, Bedrock, for the right price Lord Checota might be willing to consider a permanent display within his ~DRIFT~ )

So much happening in mountain town Missoula. Really, try to keep up…

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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