A nonprofit that shelters victims of domestic violence could soon get a new home.

HAVEN and the Gallatin Valley Land Trust are teaming up to acquire 12 acres north of Bozeman Pond. The partnership would add parkland in town and give HAVEN a place to build its new building.

The collaboration is months in the making, ever since GVLT executive director Penelope Pierce started talking to a HAVEN volunteer about the trust's desire to buy the vacant land near Fowler Avenue and Ravalli Road.

Both groups had been eyeing the land, but neither needed all 12 acres, so they decided to work together.

“This kind of opportunity is rare, and this is just an incredible opportunity,” GVLT associate director Kelly Pohl said.

The plan is for GVLT to buy the acreage with bridge financing from the Conservation Fund. It now has the land under contract.

GVLT will then sell 3 acres to HAVEN for use as a secure shelter to serve families affected by domestic violence.

“A new emergency shelter and facility for HAVEN is absolutely essential to meet the growing demand for our services,” HAVEN's executive director Kristy McFetridge said. “This project will not only double our capacity to protect families, but it will improve HAVEN's ability to engage our friends and neighbors in early intervention and prevention strategies so together, as a community, we can end domestic abuse.”

Last year, HAVEN provided services to 1,032 people. The nonprofit continues to see a growing need.

HAVEN board member Wendy Wilson said half its clients are children, and the number of individuals needing help has increased 29 percent in the last two years.

“This is an incredible opportunity for our community to seamlessly connect important public facilities to make our community a healthy and safe place for everyone to live, work and play,” Wilson said.

HAVEN's current shelter — its location is confidential — is a four-bedroom home built in the 1920s. It was not designed to house multiple families, McFetridge said.

Plans for HAVEN's new home near Bozeman Pond include:

  • doubling the number of clients it serves from 15 to 30
  • making the shelter accessible for people with disabilities and severe injuries
  • space for pets and service animals
  • a playroom, childcare area and outdoor playground
  • increasing security by moving from a confidential model to a secure shelter model
  • space to offer educational opportunities to clients and the community
  • a library and study area

The new location would not be confidential, but then again, more rural shelters are leaving the confidential model and opting for more security, McFetridge said.

The facility would keep clients safe while increasing the sense of community involvement, which is more empowering for residents, she said.

The new location will also be close to public transportation, a grocery store, an elementary school and trails.

The groups propose that the city use about $600,000 from the trails, open space and parks bond that voters approved in 2012 to buy the remaining 9 acres from GVLT for parkland.

GVLT also wants the city to use $400,000 from the bond to improve the parkland for public use.

The City Commission is scheduled to vote on funding the parkland on Dec. 2.

“I think this is exactly the kind of project the voters had in mind,” Pohl said.

The proposed park would include paved and natural trails, stream enhancements, picnic areas and a playground. The land would be added to the existing Bozeman Pond Park, creating a 24-acre recreation area in the city.

Plans also call for the addition of a 3-acre dog park which Run Dog Run, another local nonprofit, plans to develop into a fenced, off-leash dog exercise area.

During a recent trip to the proposed site, Run Dog Run president Terry Cunningham pointed out that people were coming to the Bozeman Pond Park and playing with their dogs off-leash.

“What we have here is a demand for use,” he said. “Bozeman Pond is the most heavily ticketed park for off-leash violations in Bozeman.”

The proposed dog park calls for trees, benches, a double-entry gate and a separate small dog and puppy area.

Run Dog Run and other partners have committed to contributing more than $133,000 in matching funds.

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


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