The Aspen Street Pedestrian Bridge Update
The proposed pedestrian bridge would be located on the Aspen Street public right-of way, which runs east and west between Rouse Street and the Church Street Trail that runs from E. Cottonwood to Tamarack. It was approved by the City Commission in 2011. Investments in the bridge total $22,992 to date, for engineering and design.
Progress on the pedestrian bridge halted because the limited tax increment funds were diverted to Peach and Tamarack Street improvements, completed within the last two years. The Northeast Urban Renewal District (NURD) is starting to accumulate revenue again; since the Bridge project is one of the NURD’s less costly projects it is now within reach.
For the NURD’s 2021-2022 Budget, the City's economic development staff supports earmarking $208,000 for improvements (including curb, gutter, and sidewalks) to the section of Front St. that runs in front of the train depot. It proposes that the pedestrian bridge construction—budgeted at $170,000 to include sidewalks on E. Aspen St.—be moved to the “future projects” column (see Northeast Urban Renewal District 2021-2022 Budget).
It is unfortunate that these are competing projects for limited funds, as both are desirable for the neighborhood. Given that construction of the Cottonwood/Ida development—which includes improvements to Ida Street between Aspen St. (the current trail across from the climbing rock) and Cottonwood—isn’t scheduled to begin until the Fall of 2021, could the Front Street improvements wait until next year’s budget to allow the Aspen Street Pedestrian Bridge to be completed sooner?
As a mixed residential and commercial zone, the Northeast Urban Renewal Board (NURB) charter states that improvements using TIF funds need to serve both resident and development interests. Should this resident-focused trail amenity be prioritized in the NURB budget?
If you would like to see this pedestrian bridge finally become a reality for our neighborhood and community, please let the NURB members know. The contacts for the NURB are David Fine (DFine@bozeman.net) and Michael Veselik (email@example.com).
You can also provide public comment at the Thursday, April 15 NURB virtual meeting. This is the final opportunity for the NURB to consider their recommendation to the City Commission concerning the Work Plan and Budget for the Northeast Urban Renewal District for Fiscal Year 2022 (July 2021—June 2022).
Join the webex meeting Thursday, April 15 at 6:30 pm.