State of Missoula discussion touts authenticity


MISSOULA, Mont. - Local officials are saying there are new goals and opportunities for the City of Missoula. A panel led a discussion Tuesday about working to engage Missoula businesses with the community.

The panel revealed findings to a survey distributed to towns in Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and Montana. It's focused around a new approach to economic growth in the west. We're told 476 businesses from 66 different communities responded to the survey. Missoula was one of those communities.

The survey found people value authenticity where they live. That means capitalizing on local community assets. The report revealed transportation is important to people, saying the way people move around in their community affects how they feel about their community.

Project Manager John Lavey says Missoula should focus on expanding and keeping existing businesses. He says it's important to engage the community.

"It no longer just makes sense to hang the proverbial 'help wanted' sign in the window of your community and broadcast to the world that you're open for business. No community is closed.  What we're finding is what also makes sense is to broadcast to the world is that you're open for community and you're open for place," said Lavey.

Lavey says there are six focus groups that make the goals and work to implement them. Those groups include housing, safety and wellness, environmental quality, economic health, livability and community design.
Planners will hold another community meeting to update the public on the progress of the plan in April. The planning division will have a preliminary plan by the beginning of the summer. City council will look at the plans in the fall.

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