The Bozeman City Commission voted Monday night to trade 12 acres of city land at the corner of Nelson and Frontage roads for about 8 acres the Montana Department of Transportation owns at 907 N. Rouse Ave.

The city plans to build its new police and courts facility on the land on North Rouse Avenue between Oak and Tamarack streets.

MDT plans to locate its shops, which are now at the Rouse Avenue location, at the land currently owned by the city that’s part of the Bozeman water reclamation facility.

The commission unanimously passed the motion 4-0. Mayor Jeff Krauss was absent from Monday’s meeting. A second reading on the matter is scheduled to go before the commission in two weeks. If it is approved then, the land swap will go into effect 30 days after that.

Included in the agreement is a lease back so that MDT can use the property on Rouse Avenue until its facility on Nelson Road is finished. MDT would have to vacate the north portion of land when the city is ready to start construction.

At closing, the city will pay MDT $746,323 for differences in property values and impact fee values.

MDT will be responsible for any cleanup needed on the Rouse Avenue land.

This is the first of three meetings this month that include issues surrounding the future plans for the new municipal police and courts facility. At the July 21 meeting, commissioners will review the design and projected cost for what's being referred to as the Rouse Justice Center. The following Monday, the commission will discuss language for a bond it plans to put before voters in November to fund the project.

If voters do not approve the bond, Assistant City Manager Chuck Winn said the city doesn’t have a backup plan.

“The need for the police station and court building continues to get more every day, so we need to complete this project,” Winn said.

“This is the right location to build this facility,” City Manager Chris Kukulski added. “The need doesn’t go away.”

Erin Schattauer can be reached at 582-2628 and eschattauer@dailychronicle.com. She’s on Twitter at @erinschattauer.

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