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Parking discussed in Whitefish project

By Kevin Lessard, KCFW Reporter, klessard@kcfw.com
Published On: Dec 11 2013 06:39:18 PM MST
Updated On: Dec 11 2013 08:31:01 PM MST
KALISPELL, Mont. -

Whitefish's City Hall may soon be getting a new look. City officials met with the final four architecture firms to hear proposals on a new city project.

It was the first day people had a chance to see what the future of what downtown Whitefish could look like.

Wednesday the city held a design forum where four architecture firms presented their proposals for the future of Whitefish's new City Hall.

Project designs include a centralized City Hall, a new multi-story parking structure, as well as new business space for downtown Whitefish.

Mayor John Muhlfeld feels this is a project 25 years in the making.

"Right now our city government is distributed between multiple buildings in town, so we're hoping with a redevelopment of a consolidated City Hall, we're going to be able to provide a greater service to the public, while providing parking that will hopefully in turn catalyze economic development in the down town area," said Muhlfeld.

City officials tell us that parking has been a growing issue in Whitefish, and they're hoping that by building this new structure, they can solve that problem.

The city has a $12 million budget. Most of the funds will come from what's called a Tax Increment Financing district. That's a specific area of town that's been paying increased taxes.

Muhlfeld is hopeful they'll be able to complete the project, but they're running out of time.

"What's really going to drive the schedule of completion is our Tax Increment Financing district actually sunsets in 2020 so it's very important for the city to engage this process and eventually have a turnkey project by 2020," said Muhlfeld.