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Concerns raised over proposed rest area relocation in Three Forks

Residents show up to discuss project bringing rest area to Three Forks
Posted at 8:55 AM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-23 16:09:33-04

THREE FORKS — The Montana Department of Transportation plans on relocating a rest stop in Bozeman to a location in Three Forks.

“Short of anything else, I call it insane,” said Butch Barton, the Wheatland Meadows Homeowners Association President.

The public open house was meant to inform and address concerns from neighboring residents about the project.

“We’re taking a congested area in Bozeman and moving it to another congested area in Three Forks,” Barton said.

“The project started initially with a request from the city of Bozeman officials about three years ago, and then subsequent to that the Department was approached by a developer and that started this whole process,” said William Fogarty, with the Montana Department of Transportation.

Several dozen Three Forks residents showed up to learn more about the project many say they had no input at all.

“I appreciate the gesture to come out and give us some information," said Three Forks resident Josh Prestin. "I do feel like I learned a little bit more than I had known prior, but I don’t feel like my concerns have been met or managed because I don’t feel heard.”

“We’re taking a congested area in Bozeman and moving it to another congested area in Three Forks,” Barton said.

Another popular concern had to do with safety.

“I’m concerned about our law enforcement being able to adequately patrol something that’s going to be sure watched by cameras but understaffed and unseen so close to both our homes and our communities and an exotic dance club right across the street," said Prestin.

And Broadwater County sheriffs seem to agree.

“I’m not happy with it," said Broadwater County Sheriff Winn Meehan. "It’s a limited law enforcement area, and everybody knows it’s a limited law enforcement area, and you’re bringing something that tends to have in its current location a lot of attention from law enforcement, and here it’s not going to.”

MDT says they understand frustrations, especially about not being involved sooner.

“We weren’t allowed to disclose the developer’s site review because it was a competitive process,” said Fogarty.

If you missed tonight’s open house, there will be a virtual version taking place Wednesday at 4 pm directly through MDT website.

Residents show up to discuss project bringing rest area to Three Forks