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Government often takes the rap for everything that’s cumbersome, wasteful and inefficient — and sometimes those criticisms are justified. But there are other occasions when government gets it right, and we should take note when it does.

Last week, pretty much the last of a $15 million of a Trails, Open Space and Parks bond issue was allocated for additional funding for soccer fields at the Bozeman Sports Park. The $15 million bond issue was passed by voters in 2012 — by a 3-to-1 margin, something almost unheard of for a ballot measure that imposes taxes on the voters who approve it. That set off a process that has unfolded in the ensuing five years.

Among the things that have been accomplished with this money:

n Easements were purchased for trails to be completed from the town proper to the “M,” completing an essential component of the city’s enviable trail system.

n Money was has been dedicated for the development of Story Mill Park. It’s expected to be open to the public in the fall and will be the cornerstone of the city’s park system.

n Badly needed playing fields will be built for the city’s thousands of youth soccer players.

n Bozeman Creek was restored to a more natural state as it meanders through Bogert Park.

n Bozeman Pond Park was expanded and an off-leash dog section was added.

And the money was leveraged to get other matching grants through the help of non-profit land preservation groups. So ultimately voters got some $24 million worth of expanded parks and trails. And all of the projects will do so much to enhance the quality of life we enjoy.

This has been an example of self-governance at its best. Forward-thinking advocates saw a need to expand the city’s parks and trails. They prevailed upon the city commission to go to the voters for the needed funds. And the voters enthusiastically approved.

Many years from now, Bozemanites will look back with gratitude to all who have participated in this extraordinarily successful effort.

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Editorial Board

  • Mark Dobie, publisher
  • Nick Ehli, managing editor
  • Bill Wilke, opinion page editor
  • Richard Broome, community member
  • Renee Gavin, community member
  • Will Swearingen, community member
  • Angie Wasia, community member

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