Friday Poem: THE PLAN

by William Skink

Condos and event centers and hotels, oh my. The news of development–and the designed impotence of the public to do anything about it–continues splashing across the printed page and buzzing in pixel land.

Lord Checota shared details about his Big D(rift) with a giddy media, and one media outlet, the Missoulian, made sure to explicitly state all the things Tax Increment Funding WON’T be funding.

He (Checota) noted that the privately owned portions of the project, including the hotel/condo tower and its parking spots, are not getting any Tax Increment Financing from the city and will be 100% privately financed. The city has an agreement in place to use $16.5 million in TIF funds to purchase the civic events center from Checota once it’s built. The money is paid back by property taxes on the project. The city is also purchasing most of the 360-space parking garage.

developer, Checota, is paying for the huge public plaza, all the utility improvements on Front Street and is receiving no public money for the privately owned portions of the project.

This is a great example of local corporate media doing the PR work for a private developer because the result will benefit both of their bottom lines.

What are local artists to do? Shall we bow to Lord Checota and his benevolent reign, since he declares his palisades will be such a great place for artists?

As a poet who has lived here for 20 years, having been trained in the creative arts by the flagship University that saw the biggest decline in student attendance over the last decade of all flagship Universities across the country, I feel it is my duty to continue documenting Missoula’s gentrifying transformation in verse:


Missoula has a master plan
to pack people into sardine cans
then eliminate streets and cars and trash
and the poor, who don’t aesthetically match

density, the mantra of rampant growth
is how developers get the most
from dwindling land on which to make
piles of money on real estate

all other considerations now are mute
but your public comments are really cute
like the public has any say
after the dust settles on election day

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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