Flathead Valley Youth Center Gets Full Board Support
With universal praise for a development based on meeting the needs of Flathead Valley’s youth, Kalispell City Council voted unanimously this week to annex a mixed-use development project north of town that includes a center of youth and a sports complex.
The 37-acre property, owned by Kelcey and Tawnya Bingham, is located at the corner of Church Drive and US Highway 93. The proposed development, called Farm District, is centered around an indoor sports and arts facility for young people as well as commercial and residential facilities. uses.
“For me, the most exciting part is a full campus for our young people where they can just come and hang out,” Tawnya Bingham told the council during the public comment period. “You don’t have to pay to get in. We’re going to have tutors, we’ve got empowerment programs with Nate Chute, we’ve got DREAM Adaptive coming. It’s a place for everyone.”
Councilor Jed Fisher praised the center’s free approach to youth, adding that most recreational programs charge fees that can inadvertently act as a barrier to youth participation.
“It’s so necessary in our valley,” he said.
The proposed development plan has six phases, beginning with the indoor youth sports and arts facility, which will include a regulation-sized indoor soccer and lacrosse field, as well as four to six basketball and volleyball courts. .
“Lacrosse has over 300 kids in the Valley playing right now and it’s only growing,” Bingham said. “Football, we have two big clubs but nowhere to practice in winter.”
The second phase of the project will consist of mixed-use commercial and residential spaces to support the neighborhood and the youth centre. Planned commercial uses include a gastropub, boutique hotel, gas station, offices and a small neighborhood grocery store.
Phases three and four will include up to 70 residential units, and the final phases will be more mixed commercial and residential uses.
“I haven’t been this excited since probably Kidsports,” said counselor Kari Gabriel. “It’s really cool to see this kind of development coming here.”
Mayor Mark Johnson praised the farm-themed design of the development, saying he liked that it “goes back to our agricultural roots”.
“I’m glad to see it, and I’m glad to see you pull it off and finish it.”
The Binghams hope to launch the first phase of development this fall.
“Hopefully it’s a second home for a lot of kids who might need it. I know it might sound a little ugly or it’s going to get messy and we know that,” Bingham said. “But we are ready to take charge of that at this point.”