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State of community discussed in Missoula

By KECI Staff
Published On: Apr 14 2014 06:51:27 PM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

City, county and community members gathered together Monday in Missoula to discuss the state of the community and bring everyone up to speed on current events.

University of Montana President Royce Engstrom spoke first at the meeting and emphasized the purpose the University serves, as well as current projects taking place on campus. 

He acknowledged lower enrollment numbers recently and said UM's entire recruiting program is being reworked to turn that around.  The plan includes hiring an outside consulting firm and changing the way they approach students.

"One of our greatest assets as a University is our host community of Missoula.  Very few universities enjoy the relationship that we have between the University of Montana and the community of Missoula," said Engstrom.

Engstrom also discussed economic development and facility projects taking place, which he said will be assets to the community.

The University of Montana said it has more than $50 million tied up in current construction projects on campus.

County leaders spoke about how funds are being distributed in their office.  They said top projects include the expansion of the Lolo Trail, the Milltown Park and an update of the county growth policy.

Mayor John Engen said, "Missoula is a great community and great communities do not rest.  I believe in the power of active government."

Engen added that it takes an active government on all levels to make a community successful.  That means the university, the county and the city working together. 

Big on the city's to-do list are purchasing Mountain Water, taxation changes and new urban renewal districts.

"Active government works for people, active government works for communities, active government builds great places for people to want to live, work and play," said Engen.

Engen added if Missoula is going to be a great place in 50 years we need to start doing things now.