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Board places support behind plans for Missoula rec and community center at McCormick Park

The preliminary ideas for a new multi-purpose community center near downtown Missoula were unanimously supported by the Parks and Recreation Board on Tuesday, according to a press release from the department.

According to the project’s proponents, the Currents Center for Recreation and Creativity would complement the present Currents Aquatic Center’s capabilities by catering to people of all ages and with a wide range of interests.

According to Donna Gaukler, head of the city’s Department of Park and Recreation, a dedicated year-round facility for leisure and cultural events will be created if the project is fulfilled.

Her statement reads, “The suggested conceptual design builds on the existing Currents Aquatic Center,” she noted. According to the architect, it was technically Phase 1 of a future community center, which is what we’re talking about today.

After being built using a mix of general obligation bonds and tax increment financing, the aquatics complex opened its doors in 2006. The planned community center is anticipated to cost roughly $44 million, a figure that Gaukler claimed includes the cost of inflation since the project was first suggested.

In the words of Gaukler, “we’re going into this with our eyes wide open.” “It does take into account the huge inflation we’ve had this year,” says the author. “I would hope and anticipate that these figures would be reduced in two years.”

The city has not said how it intends to pay for the facility’s development. However, it has considered the possibility of issuing a general obligation bond in the past. Nevertheless, Gaukler said that the facility would likely have a cost recovery rate of 60 percent or more based on lessons learned from previous local facilities.

In contrast, Gaukler said that the city’s aquatics elements, including Splash and Currents, had a cost recovery rate of around 86 percent. The cost recovery rate for Fort Missoula Regional Park is approximately 38 percent.

It is our opinion that the Currents Center for Recreation and Creativity would fit somewhere in between those two extremes.” “The architectural design is intended to complement and harmonize with Currents to a great extent. “It’s a facility that was created to make participation easier.”

In the vision, there will be a multi-purpose gym or auditorium, a ballroom for social dancing and concerts, schools, daycare, and amenities for both youth and senior citizens.

As of now, the conceptual design does not include programming, but the community has shown support for the facility, with 66 percent of those who responded agree that the facility should serve a multi-generational population, according to Gaukler.

Other respondents want indoor and outdoor meetings, gatherings, and small event spaces (another 65 percent of respondents). Finally, 56 percent of respondents wish to dance, perform, or attend a performance.

‘We want to build a multi-purpose Missoula community center centrally placed in McCormick Park that fulfills the needs of people of all ages and generations year-round and is affordable for everyone,’ Gaukler said. Considering that the winter season is long and dark, we want to be in a location where we can relax and enjoy ourselves.

Supporters of the project claim that the facility was included in the Downtown Master Plan. While the new Missoula Public Library will build an audience and inspire individuals to read for a lifetime, the community center will engage people to make a lifelong commitment to exercise and wellbeing, according to the organizers.

According to the friend’s group, this is a place for creativity and leisure, rather than another community center, which is being very clever right now. “They’re putting in a lot of effort from a program standpoint to look about this in a new way,” said parks board member John O’Connor.