Bozeman residents criticize ice tower plans


POSTED: 11:10 PM Oct 24 2012
Ice tower model
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Conrad Anker heads the Bozeman Ice Tower Foundation- the group that plans to build an ice tower at the fairgrounds.

"Initially it was to have an outdoor climbing structure to do water ice climbing on" he said.

Anker said the project grew from an ice tower for avid climbers, to a landmark for the city.

It'll be a great attraction, he said, because the sport is gaining in popularity.

But their tower would serve other functions like a concert venue, office space, search and rescue training facility and more.

Anker presented the plans to residents at the Northeast Neighborhood Association (NENA) meeting Wednesday night.

Citizens like Larry Barnard, who lives near the fairgrounds said it's "an awesome idea. It's a great idea."

And while they're on board with the plans, there's one major issue residents have with the design.

"It's the issue of noise coming from the fairgrounds that affects the neighborhood" Barnard said.

They said the concert venue will cause too much noise at late hours. Barnard and a number of others said past concerts shook windows, and disrupted sleep.

"Having a concert venue makes it appealing to businesses or individuals that would invest this kind of money" Anker said.

He said they decided on a concert venue because it'll draw private investors to fund their 3 million dollar-plus project, and sustain use of the structure year-round.

But Barnard said they'd like to see another option for the structure other than a concert venue, or at least lay out rules- like no sound after 10 pm, and nothing above a certain decibel level.

"It's not something that is set in stone" Anker said, adding "we're flexible with it."

He said it's early in the design process, and they plan on working with the community to figure out the best solution.

Wednesday night was the first in a series of meetings to get community input on the ice climbing tower and concert venue.

Anker said they're waiting on county commissioners to sign a "memorandum of agreement" before they begin fundraising.