One of Montana’s premiere philanthropists, Terry Payne and his family have gifted the entire city block upon which the present Missoula Public Library sits to the City of Missoula.

Payne, who also was the guiding force behind the Payne Family Native American Center on the UM Campus, has been a leader in the Missoula business community for decades.

“Through a land exchange about a year and a half ago, I ended up owning the Missoula City Library and that the library is able to stay in while their new building is under construction,” said Payne. “After they move out, obviously something needs to be done with that block, and after a lot of thought it seemed appropriate to give it to the city. I know they will be good custodians of the property into the future for the use of the community.”

The gift encompasses an entire city block that now houses the library and its parking lot that was built in 1975.

Payne said he considered several opportunities for the prime piece of real estate in downtown Missoula. One commercial real estate expert told KGVO News that the estimated value of the property was approximately $2,750,000.

“I had a variety of different opportunities to do something with the property that other people had in mind, and I’m sure there are others that I didn’t even address, and I felt on a long term basis, but I thought what better use that to put in the hands of the city to utilize in for the benefit of the community, It’s as simple as that," he said.

Mayor John Engen, in a press release from the city said:

“Mr. Payne trusts the City of Missoula to find the highest and best use of this block based on community need, our extensive planning processes, need for quality, affordable housing and more. This is a remarkable gift from a Missoulian who has demonstrated his commitment to the community over and over again through his generosity, business practices and nature. On behalf of the residents we serve, I’m grateful to Terry for his vision, kindness and trust.”