City’s history mostly boom with little bust

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By TIM STOVER/Montana State News

Bozeman, Montana, is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation.

However, looking at its rich history and vibrant figures, it’s clear that Bozeman has experienced rapid growth since its beginning.

Starting even before Bozeman became incorporated, the city underwent its architectural and urban development phase, the Township Phase from 1864-1872.

According to the city of Bozeman website, organized planning of the town came about “… by a need for a supply center for the booming new mining camps in the Montana territory.”  Simplicity was the goal of the town at that time.

According to the city of Bozeman website, “… most buildings were constructed of simple materials and simple methods. …” Functionality was the only objective. Montana miners were had flooded the area and needed dwellings and establishments to provide for them as easily as possible.

Leading up to its incorporation in 1883, the city of Bozeman underwent a village phase from 1873-1883. This phase was based entirely around transcontinental railroad coming to Bozeman.  More

Long-time locals’ perspective on growth

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By BAY STEPHENS/Montana State News

Big country and little towns with skies that stretch from one eternity to the other: classic Montana. An element of legend and grit has swirled around the state since its inception. For those that have grown up here, the land and culture have changed, especially in a place like Bozeman.

Once a town to supply the surrounding ranch and farm communities, Bozeman became a place where cultures met: cowboy and ski culture, rustic and modern, and everything beyond and in between.

With a university to draw young students, it didn’t take long for the word to get out. Today, Bozeman – often referred to as the next Boulder, Colorado – faces dramatic change brought on by a burgeoning population and a nexus of interests and people.

Though change is not inherently bad, three generations of locals attest that Bozeman is not what it once was, in some ways for the better, yet, in other ways, elements have been lost. More

Local mall exception to grim national trend

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By CULLAN STAACK/ Montana State News

Shopping malls are losing some of their most valuable tenants—department stores—at an alarming rate. Retailers like Sears, JCPenney and Macy’s have been closing hundreds of locations over the last several years, leaving dead or dying shopping malls in their wake as they try to remain profitable amid the growing threat of e-commerce.

The slow death of the American shopping mall is not evenly distributed. A disproportionate number of recent high profile store closure announcements have been in communities that are already struggling, according to Conor Sen, a Bloomberg View columnist and portfolio manager for New River Investments. Bozeman does not fit the profile of a struggling community, and as a result, the Gallatin Valley Mall is not currently exhibiting any signs of future foreclosures. More

Food bank fills empty tables with local generosity

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By EMILY SCHABACKER/ Montana State News

Gallatin Valley Food Bank serves 3,105 individuals a month including families, kids, single parents, and seniors; but with the upcoming summer season, Laura  Stonecipher, program coordinator at the food bank, expects an increase in clients. Despite this increase, the food bank is experiencing a decrease in donations.

On average, Gallatin Valley Food Bank serves 1,200 households every month, according to Stonecipher.

Stonecipher said, “the majority of our clients do not come regularly…. Think about your budget and everything lines up, but then your car breaks down or you have a medical bill…. then you need to divert money that you might spend on groceries to pay for those bills.”

The food bank also supports Bozeman’s seniors with their Senior Commodity Program, according to Mariah Smith, administrative officer at the bank.

“Clients have to be over 60 years old and there are some income limits as it is a government funded program. It is an extra two bags of food plus cereal and shelf stable milk. That’s once a month for our seniors,” said Stonecipher. More

Fort Ellis: A short chapter in Bozeman’s history

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By BAY STEPHENS/Montana State News

Fort Ellis holds onto history by a brief existence, its birth brought about by the fear of native tribes. It’s demise came by the relegation of these tribes to reservations.

According to Rachel Phillips, research coordinator of the Gallatin History Museum, Fort Ellis’ story begins with a group of frontiersman whose names remain in the city of Bozeman: Daniel Rouse, William Beall and of course, John Bozeman.

In the 1850s, Beall and Rouse busied themselves with building log cabins for the wagon caravan of settlers that Bozeman was bringing west to start a Montana settlement.

He guided them along what would later become the Bozeman Trail. At the time, it was an illegal route that passed through lands held through treaty by Native American tribes, Phillips said.

In 1867, accompanied by a man named Tom Cover, Bozeman travelled along the Bozeman Trail trying to secure beef and flour contracts with Army posts along the way. However, only Cover returned to the young settlement. More

Despite protests, city OKs Olive Street SID

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By CULLAN STAACK/Montana State News

The Bozeman City Comission approved the creation of an Olive Street special improvement district of the objections of a pair of homowners.

Kellen Gamradt, a staff and project engineer with the city, says, “The purpose of this SID is to help finance a street reconstruction on East Olive and a portion of South Church Avenue… We received two written protests, representing 3.8 percent of the district, and seven letters of support.”

Gamradt explains in his hearing that the amount of the SID is $140,950, 15 percent of the overall costs of the improvements. The SID revolving fund will finance the project initially, which means a low interest rate for property owners, the elimination of the need for a bond sale, and the fund being paid back over a 20-year period with interest.

Citing an overwhelming amount of support and an insufficient number of written protests, Gamradt and the city commissioners voiced their approval of the project as a necessary infrastructure investment for the city. The motion carried unanimously. More

City extends vacation rental moratorium

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By EMILY SCHABACKER/Montana State News

Bozeman City Commissioners voted to extend the interim ban that prevents homeowners from renting out rooms or houses for short term stays on Feb. 6. City commissioners agreed to adopt an ordinance that allows a six-month extension to the ban in order to conduct further research on the impact of private home rentals in the community.

Originally, the ban was adopted to remove short term rentals from the three zoning districts for six months so city staff could “investigate, to start conversations with the community, research the best practice and bring the issues back to (the commission),” said Chuck Winn, assistant city manager.

In a 4-1 vote, commissioners agreed to allow a six-month extension to the ban because “this has…turned into a huge opportunity for the community to share with the city and share with each other their passion on this issue,” said Winn.

An extension of the ban would allow city staff to determine appropriate policy questions for the commissioners and put forth a more coherent presentation of the issue before any larger decisions are made, according to Winn. More

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