A person eats lunch under a pavilion in Lindley Park on May 13.

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Bozeman is planning to pay people part-time to get input from underserved communities in the city about access to parks and trails.

The city partnered with the Human Resources Development Council and the Western Transportation Institute and received a $12,500 grant through the Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities to pay a handful of part-time community liaisons to get input from residents who can connect the city with “different typically underrepresented communities who have lacked a voice in the development of the city’s past planning structure and processes,” according to a press release.

Addi Jadin, the city’s park planning and development manager, said the city wanted to do a better job involving residents as it starts a process to update the parks, recreation, open space and trails plan and an “active transportation” plan.

“I would say, overall, within the city of Bozeman, the areas of town where we have less access to parks and recreation tend to coincide with areas where we have minority populations and lower-income people living, and we really want to get their input on how to address those issues,” Jadin said. “We want to make sure we are reaching the people who would benefit the most as we are improving our system.”

The city is planning to hire three people to work 10 hours a month for a $15 hourly wage, Jadin said. The liaisons will help organize different outreach efforts, which Jadin said might include events or surveys.

Apart from getting more input from underserved residents in Bozeman, Jadin said the city is also viewing this as a pilot program to see if paying people to work as community organizers on city engagement efforts is effective.

Jadin said the liaison positions also recognize that there are already people doing this work in Bozeman, but for free.

HRDC community development project manager, Lila Fleishman, said the organization is hoping to be flexible with hours to hire people who may have other obligations.

“The goal is to work with three community members that are generally reaching a different audience than those who have the time and personal financial position to join a city board where there’s meetings for several hours during a weekday,” Fleishman said.

Applications for the position opened this week and are available at https://forms.gle/MCHdMNnLU1fkznwv6. The work is slated to run through the end of September, though Jadin said there is a chance it will be extended.

The overall parks, recreation and active transportation planning work will run into next year, Jadin said.

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Nora Shelly can be reached at nshelly@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2607.

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