BOZEMAN — The times are changing in Bozeman as the city grows and the need for more infrastructure increases. In fact, right across the street from the Lehrkind mansion was an old brewery. What was left of it in 2014 was demolished. Now a huge building project is in the works where it once stood.
Jason Wickens is the producer for Live From The Divide, a small music venue operating out of a building that was Bozeman’s first cold storage, just steps from the railroad tracks.
“You take what's here and you make it useable and repurpose it,” said Wickens. “ I just fell in love with the building, the area, and its history.”
The Northeast Neighborhood is an area rich with history, including the Lehrkind brewery which stood next to the Lehrkind mansion. In 2007, the city began demolishing the brewery for redevelopment, before falling victim to the financial recession. In 2014, the wall that remained was deemed unsafe and at risk of falling over so was demolished completely.
Now, there’s a plan to develop the empty lot which is currently in the beginning stages. As you drive by you can see stacks of wood and concrete being poured. The project will add to other construction going on in the area. It will include a parking garage with more than 200 spaces, apartments, and other dwelling units as well as social gathering areas.
Sarah Rosenberg, the historic preservation officer for The City of Bozeman says there is a lot of focus on the Northeast Neighborhood because of its rich history and popularity.
“With something like a parking garage and other accommodations would make it even more walkable and increase circulation throughout there,” said Rosenberg.
She says it’s challenging to find the balance between accommodating the growth of the neighborhood and ensuring that the history remains. However, they are making a conscious effort to do just that.
“It was where a prominent African American community was and a lot of immigrants, so that's what we're focusing on through surveys and policies,” said Rosenberg. “ We’re looking at how to better balance that to ensure that these stories aren't lost.”
As for Wickens, a passionate songwriter and storyteller, he agrees this is necessary.
“I think it’s so important to embrace, educate, and to share what is so important about this community,” said wickens.