Is Donna Gaukler A 44 Million Dollar Financial Terrorist Issuing A Threat To The Missoula Community?

by Travis Mateer

My gut answer to the question proposed in the title of this post: fuck yeah she is. But why? Because that number is a giant municipal crack pipe being formalized in the minds of insane people who can’t fathom the fact words like NO exist in the English language. From the link:

Calling it a door to the community, the Missoula City Council on Monday made official its adoption of a conceptual plan for a $44 million indoor recreation center proposed for McCormick Park.

With a design in hand, backers of the project can now begin their search for funding and hope philanthropy will cover the cost. Accepting the plan doesn’t commit the city to any funding at this point in time, according to city staff.

Before piling on more impotent citizen rage on this “conceptual” plan, I’d like to remind readers that County officials recently issued an emergency order to deal with the Reserve Street homeless camp environmental disaster and, because of that latent official action, 40 tons were removed.

I’m referencing that effort because I think a similar emergency order via citizen initiative needs to be launched to deal with the analogous GARBAGE coming from the unhinged minds of city officials like Donna the financial terrorist.

My favorite part of this absurd DOOR TO THE COMMUNITY concept to blow 44 million dollars is Donna Gaukler’s acknowledgement the economy is shit. That’s why this isn’t a request for “funds”, she says. What else does Donna have to say about her vision?

“We recognize that today’s economy is not the time to ask for funds,” said Donna Gaukler, director of Parks and Recreation. “We’re not asking for funds, were not asking for construction or operational funds. But there’s opportunity for a vision and there’s opportunity for philanthropy. This is a time to build coalitions.”

Yes, so much opportunity. And if you don’t support this clear opportunity to realize Donna’s vision, here’s some more gobbledygook rationale for why the Missoula community needs this bullshit:

“This plan is unique in two ways. One, the community outreach well exceeds that which has occurred in the past,” said Mike Sweet with Friends of the Currents Center for Recreation and Creativity. “Secondly, while this design captures all the components of the previous efforts, it more completely represents the diversity and interests of the community and reflects how our community is growing.”

While I certainly don’t contest the fact our community is growing, the growth I’m interested in with this post is the growth of scope and cost of this madness. Here’s how this project was being pitched in February of 2021 (emphasis mine):

On Wednesday, the Missoula City Council’s parks and conservation committee approved spending $119,888 to hire MMW Architects for design services for a community center in McCormick Park. The money comes from impact fees.

Donna Gaukler, the director of the City of Missoula’s Parks and Recreation department, acknowledged that there is no funding source identified to build the facility, which she said might have a rough ballpark price tag of $17 million, although construction costs are always variable.

However, it’s important to get the ball rolling so that community partners can have a vision of what the space would be and how it would benefit the community, she said.

Who really thinks this town needs what Donna Gaukler is selling? And, more importantly, can a citizen initiative stop this financial terrorism before it’s too late?

I sure hope so. Thanks for reading.

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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5 Responses to Is Donna Gaukler A 44 Million Dollar Financial Terrorist Issuing A Threat To The Missoula Community?


    (1) first came the lengthy report on the status of Year Ten of the Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness in Missoula (“TYP”), in which (with the help of an attending citizen) that there are typically 100 unhoused people in excess of available shelter beds on a given night, 200 during winter;

    (2) the emphasis on openness to all regarding the community center proposal made me wonder how wealthy elite boutique liberals will feel hen they have to rub elnbows with ‘those people,’ i.e. an undetermined number of the 100-200 unhoused persons in excess of shelter capacities.

    You probably noticed last week that MRA proudly announced that it won’t need to issue bonds in order to provide TIF the 150-home development in urban renewal district #3 (with 20 or so dedicated “affordable” dwellings) because district #3 has millions and millions in unburdened funds. Any initiative addressing this problem will have to be very surgically drawn. Of course, the life of the district will now be extended automatically. For a household of two 60+ unemployed individuals with health issues, on Medicaid, meeting an effing seven grand property tax bill (80% increase in one year) is pretty tough. It’s a helluva lot tougher for 30K+ Missoulians.

    • ERRATA:

      (1) “…in which (with the help of an attending citizen) that there are typically…” should read
      “…in which (with the help of an attending citizen) we learned that there are typically…”

      (2) “…elite boutique liberals will feel hen” should read “….elite boutique liberals will feel when …”

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