The area where Vine Street, Madison Street and Spruce Street intersect, also called the “Greenough Corridor,” is ugly. At least that’s how Mary Ann Davies feels about it.
That’s why last year she decided to do something to beautify the area, and applied for a $3,000 Neighborhood Project Fund Grant from the city. Davies says the idea was to purchase materials for a split rail fence like the one in Greenough Park and a concrete planter, all to make the area seem “a little less industrial.”
In March the Greenough Corridor project was one of seven neighborhood projects approved by City Council, and Davies got started.
She says a group of volunteers recently completed the planter, but that’s as far as the project has been able to proceed due to recent complaints from Montana Rail Link (MRL) that have stalled the project.
According to Doug Harby, Missoula’s Construction Project Manager, MRL’s reason is that MRL doesn’t actually own the land where Davies’ project would be built. So even though MRL initially approved the project, the company is now hesitant.
“That land is all [Burlington Northern Santa Fe] right of way. MRL just leases the land, so they don’t have any real control over it,” Harby says. “If this were an area MRL owned they would be on board for the project…they’ve been very supportive of it.”
Harby says the city is trying to do as much as it can through MRL because Burlington Northern “is a bureaucracy that no man can cross…it’s quite a feat to get a [building] permit from them.”
Part of the problem for the city, and therefore Davies’ neighborhood project, is that Burlington Northern requires hefty insurance coverage for any project on their land. That costs a lot of money and takes a lot of time, Harby says.
Davies says she’s hoping the issue can be sorted out as soon as possible.
“It was going to look great once it got finished,” she says.