Milestones for Rail Park and Core Area

Daily Inter Lake | December 19, 2019 | Editorial

Montana West Economic Development capped off a busy and fruitful 2019 with a major announcement last week that a third and final tenant has been secured for the new Glacier Rail Park.

Local manufacturer Northern Plastics plans to purchase 9.49 acres in the 42-acre industrial park, joining CHS Mountain West Co-op and Northwest Drywall and Roofing Supply at the rail-served site off Whitefish Stage Road in Kalispell.

It was only 14 short months ago that a grand opening ceremony was held to celebrate the park’s completion. Reaching full capacity on such a short timeline only reaffirms the original vision laid out a decade ago for the Kalispell Core and Rail Redevelopment project.

With the rail park filled up, focus can now shift to removing the downtown railroad tracks, building the pedestrian trail and helping spur redevelopment along the trail corridor.

Progress is already being made on that front. Montana West Economic Development also announced last week that Bridgewater LLC has purchased the now-defunct CHS property at 120 W. Idaho St., and plans to turn it into a multi-use office building. This is the first redevelopment project associated with CHS’s move to the rail park.

Other new investments in the Core Area in anticipation of the new pedestrian trail through Kalispell include SunRift Beer Company’s new restaurant, 4th and Zuri, First American Title Company and the Depot Place Apartments. Economic leaders expect several additional mixed-use projects along the corridor for the coming year, as well.

Numerous individuals and groups have led the effort to hit these milestones in the rail park and downtown core, but Flathead County Economic Development Authority and Montana West Economic Development deserve a tip of the hat for guiding the process with a confident hand.

It’s an exciting time for Kalispell, and we can’t wait to see what comes in 2020.