Commissioners approve boundaries of potential Big Sky parks and rec district

Madison County commissioners conceptually approved the boundaries for a proposed Big Sky Parks, Recreation and Trails District Tuesday at their weekly meeting in Virginia City.

Representatives from both Madison and Gallatin Counties agreed upon the boundaries for the district, but the current resolution requires a legal description of the boundary lines.

Once the legal description of the boundaries is included in the resolution, county commissioners will allow a 30-day period for public comment on the issue to hear arguments for and against the proposal.

Katie Morrison, executive director for the Big Sky Community Corporation, was satisfied with the outcome of Tuesday’s meeting and happy to be one step closer to establishing a parks and recreation district in Big Sky.

“Big Sky has wanted to create a district that is multi-jurisdictional, which is kind of difficult just because we cross county lines, so in order to do it we have to create two separate districts and then have them work together with an inter local agreement,” Morrison said Monday before the meeting. “Having that inter local agreement creating that district and that boundary has really been the biggest hurdle for us in the history of creating a district here in Big Sky.”

Tom Leeming, president of the Madison Valley Golf Association, was also pleased with the progress made at Tuesday’s county commissioners meeting.

“When we started out, it was going to encompass the school district, which is also the other side of the mountain,” Leeming said after the commissioners broke for lunch Tuesday. “And there were just too many conflicts of interest, and disproportionate taxes, bases and everything else, that we’ve come back to this, to have two separate, potentially, districts rather than the one all encompassing.”

He would like to see the county move forward with a parks and recreation district in the Madison Valley and Tuesday’s decision could help move that process forward.

“We’ve got a bunch of established recreational factions over here. We’ve got the trails, the golf course, aquatic center. We’ve got lions club, the ball fields. I mean, we’ve got all of these different facilities, and new facilities coming, that need revenue,” Leeming said.

Karen Crowley, board director for the Madison Valley Aquatic Center, was hopeful for improvements the district would bring to the community.

“We’re looking for support from Madison County, and we just ask that people really look at the issues and support the park and rec district,” she said.

The commission also passed a resolution to expand the existing Virginia City historic preservation program to cover the entire county. The program is designed to help the county retain as much of its cultural heritage as possible.

“It’s a very unique place that we have here,” said Patrick Callaway, the historic preservation officer for Virginia City. “There is an interest within the community to try to help preserve as much as we can, not only our stories but also our places.”


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