BOZEMAN, Mont. - The property between I-90, the Frontage Road, North 7th and Mandeville Lane is mostly flat farmland. But a new plan hopes to change the landscape.
"The economic development strategy was to find something useful to do with that land that helped to create jobs and diversify the local economy" said Brit Fontenot, Bozeman's Economic Development Director.
He said Commissioners recently gave the green light to move forward on bringing in development to the former Mandeville farmland, and partner with the state- who owns adjacent school trust lands.
275 acres make up the North Park Properties. Fontenot said the city owns the north 85 acres, and the Department of Natural Resources owns the rest.
"The property is zoned M2 to the north and M1 to the south" Fontenot said, pointing to a map of the park. M1 and M2 zones mean the land can be developed for industrial use.
Fontenot went over the plans with us on Monday. He said they'll focus on attracting five main industries to the park.
"Manufacturing... biosciences, the high tech industry, the outdoor industry and photonics" he said.
They hope businesses already in Bozeman can build and grow here, and attract outside companies to relocate.
"There are several businesses both local and national that have expressed interest" Fontenot said.
He wasn't able to list the businesses at the time, but said about a half dozen are looking at building.
"It is really exciting to actually have a partner to work with on a project" said Craig Campbell with the DNRC. He said this is the first time the state's joined in a partnership like this, and he's excited at the possibilities.
The only issue? "The lack of infrastructure" Campbell said.
He and Fontenot said the next step is to look at road, sewer and water possibilities.
Fontenot also said "we need an anchor tenant- that's where my focus is at the moment."
They'll work hard to find the first business to take the leap, he said, and build in the park.
Once those industries spring up, Fontenot said it'll create more jobs and spur economic growth.
He hopes to lock down the first business in the next year. The long-term development goal is 25 to 30 years.