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Ice sports enthusiasts and agricultural educators and students would seem unlikely partners to advocate for the passage of a bond, but they now share the same cramped facilities plus both would like more space for their respective activities.

On Thursday, the two groups gathered at the Missoula County Fairgrounds to advocate for the passage of a $19 million bond to make improvements to the ice rink and to facilities for agricultural and technology education.

The general obligation bond will appear on the Nov. 8 Missoula County election ballot .

If passed by voters, it would pay for the construction of a new 80, 000 square-feet livestock and horse center with regard to youth agricultural education. It would also pay for a third sheet of ice with an NHL-sized rink for figure skaters, hockey players, curlers and more.

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The public-private partnership would also incorporate a $3 million revenue bond and $5 million from private fundraising.

It would cost Missoula County residents approximately $7. 34 a year per $100, 000 of taxable home value. The taxable value of a home is much different, and often much lower, than the price a home could fetch if it were listed for sale on the open market. The taxable associated with a home can be found by entering the address at itax. missoulacounty. us/itax/ .

Ryan Yearous, president of the Glacier Ice Rink board, said the snow and ag facilities at the Fairgrounds are a “victim of their own success. ” 

That’s because they currently share space, which limits the ability of both to meet demand. Last year, the ice rink saw over 110, 000 visits.

“With an agricultural arena plus pavilion and a new third sheet of ice, we can meet that demand, ” he told supporters on Thursday. “That will allow more people to skate for exercise, watch hockey games and take part in ice sports. And it will allow 4-H and Future Farmers of America to include more people in their activities and events from throughout the county. ”

Every year, one of the ice rinks has to be transitioned into a display space regarding livestock for the Western Montana Fair.

“It takes a lot of time setting up and taking down, ” said Gus Turner, a Big Sky High School senior who participates in 4-H and FFA. “It’s dangerous for animals, since they can slip on the concrete floors of the ice rink. Having a space designed for agriculture will be better. ”

Former NHL player and Seeley Lake resident Gary Swain believes that expanded ag and ice opportunities will benefit all of Missoula County and will help bring people from outside the county to the Fairgrounds.

“I live in Seeley Lake and we have a rink where kids skate and start playing hockey, but the rink is outdoors with a limited season, ” he said. “Seeley residents like me already rely on Glacier Ice Rink for a longer skating season. This project will expand those opportunities and benefit residents from across Missoula County. ”

Ramona Holt, a Lolo rancher, said that over 100 years ago Missoula County residents made an investment to create the Fairgrounds as a community gathering place.

“Missoula County voters today have the opportunity to do the same, ” Holt said. “We should invest in this important part of our community, which is more popular plus needed than ever before. ”

Yearous said that even people who don’t use the ice rink and the ag facilities would benefit from passage of the bond.

“We really believe that facilities like these create a community hub intended for recreation, education and bring people together, ” he said.

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