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Entries in Downtown Missoula (7)


Missoula looks to beef up anti-panhandling laws

(MISSOULA)- The Missoula city council is looking at ways to make the city's laws against panhandling stronger, responding to continued concerns from downtown leaders about the on-going problems. 

The city has had panhandling laws on the books for twenty years, including the Solicitation and Aggressive Solicitation Act that were approved just four years ago. But business owners say the laws still need some fine tuning to make them more effective. 

The oldest of the two laws, the Pedestrian Interference Act was first enacted in 1993. It makes it unlawful for someone to "sit, lie or sleep on a sidewalk" within 12-feet of a business  entry, or obstruct people walking along the sidewalk, with some exceptions. Under the proposed changes, that would increase to a 20-foot limit, and expand the prohibition to any public right-of-way between the hours of 6 a.m. and 11 at night. 

The Solicitation Act would also see a new 20-foot limit and ban soliciting in some specific places around the downtown. 

The City Council's Public Safety and Health Committee meets Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. to review the proposed changes, which are expected to draw support from downtown leaders. If the panel takes action, it would send the proposals to the full city council for consideration. 


Missoula to study one-way street changes

Dennis Bragg phot(MISSOULA)- Missoula leaders are ready to decide whether to begin a traffic study that could result in a major traffic re-alignment for two of downtown Missoula's busiest streets.

The idea of making Front and Main Streets open for two way traffic has been around for some time. But the concept has been gaining momentum in the past couple of years, with the idea that it could help to revitalize business and commercial traffic along both streets. 

Right now, Front is open for two-way traffic west of Higgins, but changes to one way on the eastern end. Main is one-way for it's entire length. 

In September, the Missoula Redevelopment Agency Board approved the selection of HDR Engineering to do a feasibility study into converting Front and Main to full two-way traffic. And Wednesday the board will decide whether to give the final approval to the study. That work will include public meetings, as well as specific meetings with businesses, and special interest groups, ranging from bike riders to the University of Montana. 

The study will look at not only traffic flow, but parking and future development.


Forum discusses Missoula graffiti problem

(MISSOULA)- Downtown Missoula business owners are hoping to take a proactive approach to the problem of graffiti, a problem which they say is costing them thousands of dollars a year. 

Members of the Montana Downtown Association, the Downtown Business Improvement District and the Mayor's Downtown Advisory Commission sponsored a forum Thursday morning to discuss the "costs and solutions" of vandals who leave graffiti all over the district. 

The panel discussion included representatives of the Missoula Police Department, the City Attorney's Office and downtown business owners. 

Downtown business owner Todd Frank, who moderated the panel, complains his business was hit five different times. 

"It's time to roll up our sleeves and take a serious look at what we can do to send the message that our beloved, historic buildings downtown aren't canvasses for vandals," said Frank in a statement before the meeting. 


Homecoming helps downtown business

KPAX TV photo(MISSOULA)- Downtown Missoula businesses, and especially those along the "Hip Strip" on Higgins, say Saturday's University of Montana Homecoming can give their businesses a big shot in the arm.

Thousands of people flocked to the downtown area this weekend for the parade. Plus the other events generate good foot traffic, especially to local restaurants, throughout a period of several days. 

KPAX TV reports Wordon's Market was one of those reaping the benefit of all that Grizzly pride, opening at 7:30 Saturday morning for coffee drinkers, and even selling its first keg at 8 a.m. Manager Allan Neilsen said business had been "great". 


Restoration starts on historic downtown Missoula building

KPAX TV photo(MISSOULA)- Construction crews started work Monday on a major renovation for the old Missoula Mercantile building, a project which aims to give the historic structure new life.

The Merc has been vacant for the past couple of years, ever since Macy's shut down operations, leaving the store vacant. But the new owners have visions of restoring the building and turning it into a multi-use struture that will be home to variety of tenants.

KPAX TV reports construction crews began setting up fences and then got to work inside the building. The renovation is being handled by ACM subcontractors with plans to get rid of the "add-ons" that have been made over the years to the structure, restoring its historic look.