Creekside Marketplace construction on its way

By: 
CHARLIE DENISON
Reporter
Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Creekside Marketplace and Pavilion restroom facility construction will soon be underway. 

Photo courtesy of Karen Sweeney

It’s becoming a reality.

Creekside Marketplace and Pavilion is set to open this summer or fall, and construction will start as soon as the weather warms up.

Creekside committee representative Karen Sweeney is ecstatic, as dreams are being realized and money is coming in. Everything is coming together.

This enthusiasm reached a new height in December, Sweeney said, when the Montana Coal Board awarded the City of Lewistown with $40,000 for construction of the restroom facility.

“This was a great funding opportunity for us,” Sweeney said. “Lewistown qualifies as a candidate to apply for coal board funding as a coal-impacted community, and no one from Fergus County had ever applied for this grant.”

 There are 94 abandoned coal mines in Fergus County, said Sweeney, thus leading Lewistown to qualify as a coal-impacted community.

“Coal was the primary source of heat for the area at one time,” she said. “The coal was often transported by railway, which was our tie to the Coal Board funding source, as Creekside is connected to the trail system, which used to be a railroad.”

The $40,000 grant is one of many reasons Sweeney is already starting to celebrate.

“We are very close to our goal both on the grant and the fundraising side,” she said. “We feel confident that we have enough funds to get the construction done this season.”

Sweeney said the Creekside Committee is also working with Snowy Mountain Development on a couple of other grant opportunities she is optimistic about. In addition, the Creekside Committee is close to reaching its goal of $200,000 for an endowment to fund future maintenance on the facility.

“It all depends on how the bids come in, but we’re feeling good,” Sweeney said.

City Manager Holly Phelps is also encouraged, as the bid is out for the concrete work and the bid for the construction of the stage on top of the concrete will soon follow. Signage and landscaping will then cap off the project.

“We’re hoping everything will get done by summer,” Phelps said. “A lot of construction will start soon. Shaun Ruckman of Peak Electric will be fixing up the light fixtures and playground construction will also begin soon ”

“It will be a natural play area,” added Sweeney. “It’s not going to be like swings and slides.”

Creekside Marketplace and Pavilion will highlight Big Spring Creek, Phelps said, and will recognize the history of the area. 

“It’s a blending of old and new with an industrial feel,” said Phelps. “We want people to stop over anytime: a laid-back, informal environment.” 

“It’s a public gathering facility – that’s the goal of it,” Sweeney added. “We want people to feel free to picnic there, enjoy it and utilize the trail. We want visitors to feel welcome there.”

As far as Sweeney and Phelps are concerned, the sky is the limit, and they proudly look forward to the plethora of possibilities in becoming a part of what Lewistown has to offer. 

“We want to encourage music events and theater,” said Sweeney. “We look forward to all of this and more, and it’s coming soon. Our grand opening could possibly take place before the Chokecherry Festival.” 

In order to accomplish this goal, construction has to start sooner rather than later.

“There will be a lot of activity come spring,” said Phelps.

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