Revitalization committee talks progress
RONAN — The Ronan Revitalization Committee held their first meeting of the new year on Jan. 23 to discuss progress toward improving the town and projects to look forward to.
As part of the requirement for participating in the Montana Main Street (MMS) program, members of the committee, along with city council members Lindsay Myers and Julie Moore, have been working on establishing a downtown master plan. The current draft of the master plan has been approved by city officials and will soon go out for bids. Interested firms will then offer their individual visions for the city’s master plan design and the committee will have a few weeks to select a firm. Once the project begins, estimates are it will take over a year to implement. Establishing the master plan will make Ronan more eligible for larger grants in the future, the committee explained. Investing in a master plan reaches beyond the scope of what will be received from Montana Main Street. Those interested in the master plan project can email Whitney Liegakos at: email@example.com to learn more.
While the overall master plan is being created, smaller groups within the committee have made progress on their individual revitalization projects for Ronan. The plan for the Pedal Port – a bike hostel intended to attract increased bike tourism through town will also act as a year-round gathering space for the valley’s cycling community. The plan was presented to the Lake County Commissioners and Ronan City Council so that potential partners can be identified and safety and security concerns addressed.
Inspired by the Twin Bridges Bike Camp built in Jessen Park in 2009, the group shared some of the questions they’d had answered by the Twin Bridges Chamber. The Twin Bridges chamber explained that they haven’t had security issues over the years; they don’t lock the facilities as they’re in a city park, and they have pass codes on their shower room. They ask visitors staying at the center to send a photo of their bike in front of the center to confirm their presence and that they’re a cyclist. The center receives donations both at a physical lockbox and via PayPal to help keep things running. Ronan chamber members found the Twin Bridges suggestions valuable.
The Ronan City Council suggested partnering with the “Diamond S Campground” to establish a place for bikers to stay. They also suggested using the fairgrounds area as a rest stop or shared use facility. This could potentially help build the cycling culture in Ronan and address possible concerns about camping safety and regulation. The group in charge of the project will meet with the Fair Board before proceeding with a community interest meeting sometime in the near future.
Those interested in getting involved with the Pedal Port Project can email Janet Sucha at: firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
There are also plans for pocket parks around town, including adding green space, seating, and possibly a small garden wall at a lot on the corner of Third Street and Main. There may also be space by the new City Hall for a pocket park as well. Anyone interested in getting involved with the project can email Chad at: email@example.com.
Additionally, the committee is looking into additional funding sources for future projects and workshops addressing tourism trends in Montana, all of which may help breath more life into Ronan. They may also look into partnership opportunities with the Ronan Cooperative Brewery, which has several block closure events planned for the season.
The next Ronan Revitalization Committee meeting will be held on Fed. 13 at 1 p.m. in the large conference room at Mission West in Ronan.