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City commission supports ice climbing tower, residents weigh in

By Katherine Mozzone, KTVM Reporter, kmozzone@ktvm.com
Published On: Oct 08 2013 06:20:41 PM MDT
Updated On: Oct 08 2013 06:43:25 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

The Bozeman City Commission signed a letter of support for a new ice climbing tower and performance venue at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds.

Proponents of the plan say the 84-foot tower could be used as a training and competition venue.

Initial estimates priced the complex at $3-4 million.

Some northeast neighborhood residents say they like the idea of an ice climbing tower, but say the don't want the noise that comes along with an outdoor performance venue.

"I'm gung ho, over-the-top and in full support of an ice climbing venue at on the fairgrounds," says Deputy Mayor Jeff Krauss.

Krauss says he's been on board with plans for an ice climbing tower and performance venue since the very beginning and says it ties in with the city's goals of bringing additional outdoor businesses and manufacturing to Bozeman.

"I think it's a chance for Bozeman to have a little bit of an identity there. The ice climbing capital of North America sounds real good to me. I think it sounds real good to motels and restaurants and the tourist industry in Bozeman," explains Krauss.

The letter of support indicates some residents near the fairgrounds have expressed concerns but Krauss tells us he's confident the structure can be designed can located in a way that mitigates noise pollution, like facing the venue towards the interstate.

"Human activity causes noise and I thinks it's a forgone conclusion that they'll be some noise from either an ice climbing venue  or a concert venue or anything else that goes there," Krauss says.

We spoke with one northeast neighborhood resident who tells us he likes the idea of an ice climbing tower, but says an outdoor venue would likely lead to violations in the city's noise ordinance.

"The noise ordinance states that they're trying to prevent noise pollution and what not and here, they're promoting it," says area resident Christopher Spogis.

Spogis printed out a copy of Bozeman's noise ordinance, pointing out the city aims promote the health and safety of its citizens by controlling and preventing raucous noise -- noise he says is inevitable if the plans for an ice tower and performance venue were to move forward.

"There's been concerts that have gone on until midnight, extremely loud levels of noise coming from the fairgrounds and I just don't believe they can regulate any sort of noise that comes from the property," Spogis explains.

Spogis tells us he doesn't have a problem with normal fair activity noise but worries a permanent venue would mean more concerts and more late night noise.

"When you're laying in bed and your windows are shaking and you're trying to go to sleep, it affects you pretty dramatically," says Spogis.

It's something he says he didn't sign up for when he moved into his home 25 years ago.

"Do you see a compromise at all here?" we asked. "The compromise would be to scratch the outdoor concert venue from the whole plan, the way I see it," replied Spogis.

We asked Deputy Mayor Krauss his take on Spogis' compromise.

"We don't always compromise. Sometimes we see what's good for the city as a whole and we do that," answered Krauss.

Deputy Mayor Krauss tells us once there is funding for the ice climbing tower, it will be presented to city commissioners as a county project, since the fairgrounds are on county land.