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City of Missoula wants to buy PEAS Farm land

By Faith Smith, KECI Reporter, fcronin@keci.com
Published On: Jun 11 2013 09:18:02 PM MDT
City of Missoula wants to buy PEAS Farm land
MISSOULA, Mont. -

The future of Missoula's largest public garden may be on more stable ground.

Tuesday night Mayor John Engen proposed the City of Missoula buy the land the PEAS Farm is on from Missoula County Public Schools which currently owns it.

The garden in the Rattlesnake has been operating for nearly 11 years on a little more than 10 acres.

Jean Zosel, executive director of Garden City Harvest, tells us the land was appraised at $1.3 million and the organization’s hope is to raise funds, along with using open space bonds, to purchase the land from MCPS.

Among other benefits, it would allow the PEAS Farm to sign a much longer lease. 

Zosel tells us the deal would not only secure the future of the program but preserve more open space.

“Farm land is harder and harder to come by and preserving this is a real step in the right direction for Missoula,” she said. “This used to be big agricultural country with a lot of truck…but now you see fewer and fewer farms.”

Engen tells us there are impact studies being finished at the PEAS Farm right now, but he expects a solid sale proposal will be on the table within the next several months.

Tuesday’s proposal comes just a month after the Missoula City Council approved $200,000 in open space bonds to help Garden City Harvest purchase a 3.25-acre parcel on River Road.