The launch date for the Core & Rail Redevelopment is being reassessed as partnering organizations, Flathead County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) and the City of Kalispell, conduct an Environmental Assessment.
The Environmental Assessment is the second of three components in the standard National Environmental Protection Act. All federally funded projects are subject to review by the corresponding agency according to the National Environmental Protection Act; the number of components required is based on the project’s complexity. After finishing review of the Core & Rail Redevelopment’s first component submission, the Federal Rail Administration determined that completion of component two would be appropriate.
FCEDA board member, Jeannie Luckey shares, “Based on the sizable scope of the Core & Rail Redevelopment, we knew the grant process would be complex.”
While time-intensive, officials from FCEDA and the City recognize the value of this assessment and have jumped in full force.
“The National Environmental Protection Act is an integral part of ensuring the Core & Rail Redevelopment is completed successfully,” said Kim Morisaki, project manager for FCEDA. “We were optimistic work could begin on the Glacier Rail Park this spring. However, managing this project the right way and serving the community, even if it takes longer to start construction, is our top priority.”
Although physical construction will not occur during the Environmental Assessment, the planning period allows leadership to further streamline the development process. Upon completion of component two, the Federal Rail Administration will assess whether a third component of study is needed.
“Redevelopment is hard work and the long-term benefits are well worth the investment. Revitalizing Kalispell’s Core Area is critical to maintaining a unique community identity, attracting a skilled workforce, enhancing tourism, and attracting employers who recognize lifestyle is a key differentiator in competing for talent,” said the City of Kalispell Community Development Manager, Katharine Thompson.