Mary Avenue Homeowners Worried About Mall Expansion
In January, the city of Missoula approved the sale of seven million dollars in bonds to help with the redevelopment of Southgate Mall. One of the biggest undertakings in this project, will be turning Mary Avenue into a through-street, but current Mary Avenue property owners, like Steve Anderson, are worried about the plan.
"My problem is pushing it through to the mall and bringing all that traffic down Mary," says Anderson. "They say there's about 300 cars that come down Mary now and I live right at the end of Mary. Down where I live, I am lucky if I see two or three cars a week and then they are talking about three to four thousand cars once they push it through and I think it's going to be more than that."
Mary Avenue home owner John Lewing says the city and the developers have not communicated well with local property owners, he's worried about how the development of Mary Avenue into a busy street may impact his children's safety.
"It's frustrating because we're the last to know, but we're the most impacted," Lewing said. "There needs to be a lot of communication. Specifically, what they're doing, how they're doing it, and when they're doing it. Secondly, it would be great if we could figure out a common ground for some sort of compensation for what we're losing and what we're giving up. I just want to raise my kids in peace and I don't think that that's too much to ask."
Many property owners indicated that they felt the new street would severely hurt the resale value of their homes and limit parking. Some were hopeful that the city might rezone the area and allow commercial properties, which could make it easier for property owners to sell.