Hampton Parks Divestment Proposal

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Missoula County is currently assessing the feasibility of selling Hampton Parks North and South located in the Turah community, shown in the maps below. 

Overview map showing the location of Hampton Parks

Overview Map 

Detailed map of the Hellgate Pines Neighborhood

Hellgate Parks labled_Tiff

Why is the County considering selling these parks?

  1. Implementing the Missoula County Parks and Trails Master Plan. The guiding document for management of Missoula County's park system, the Parks and Trails Master Plan (2012), recommends exploring divestiture of 15 parks for having one or more of the following conditions: 

    • Lacking either recreation or conservation potential
    • Other County Parks nearby provide greater potential for recreation and conservation
    • Access is restricted or limited
    • Generally unsuitable for development due to geographical or topographical circumstances

    Hampton Parks North and South were recommended for divestment consideration given their close proximity to Hellgate Park and their appearance as undeveloped subdivision lots. These parks are also relatively isolated for the majority of residents within the Turah and Clinton planning region.

  2. Hampton Park North contains an agricultural building that predates the filing of the subdivision plat in 1974. In its current state, the building poses a liability to the County and limited to no public benefit. A neighboring landowner, whose family subdivided the land, wishes to recover possession of the building. He has requested the County implement its plan to consider selling Hampton Parks.

Legal Basis:

Establishment of MCA 7-16-2324 in 1975 clarified the legal basis for political subdivisions of the state (i.e. counties) to divest of “lands dedicated for park and playground purpose” so long as requirements of the statute are followed.

What is the procedure for selling County park property?

Montana law specifies the requirements for selling, leasing, or exchanging dedicated park lands through MCA 7-16-2324. The actual procedure for sale is defined in MCA 7-8-2511 and is as follows: 

(1) The board [of County Commissioners] shall make an order for public auction of any lands classified for sale. Such sale shall be held at the front door of the county courthouse.
(2) Notice of the sale shall be given by publishing notice as provided in 7-1-2121. The notice shall describe the land to be sold and the appraised value thereof.
(3) No sale may be made for less than the appraised value of the land, as fixed by the board. The sale shall be for cash or on such terms as the board may approve provided at least 20% of the purchase price shall be paid in cash.
(4) The lessee, permittee, or licensee of any of the lands then subject to a lease, permit, or license shall have a preference to purchase the lands at an amount equal to that bid by the highest bidder at the sale.

What would be done with the sale proceeds?

All sale proceeds would be placed in Missoula County's Parks and Trails Program account and then reserved for deferred maintenance or development of parks and trails located within the Turah and Clinton communities. This is the same model the County uses for cash-in-lieu of park land dedication when new subdivisions are platted. This generates one-time revenue for parks and trails projects in the specific planning area where the subdivision is located. 

Have the County Commissioners made a determination on whether or not to sell the park?

No. At this time, the County is looking for input from the public on the proposal to sell Hampton Parks North and South. Comments can be made using the form below, or by mail to:

County Parks, Trails and Open Lands Program
200 W. Broadway
Missoula, MT 59802

All comments must be in writing and contain a full name and residential address in order to be included in the comment record submitted to the Board of County Commissioners for consideration. 

More information

Additional information including a staff assessment of various determination criteria for sale of the Hampton Parks, including the extent of conservation and recreation value offered at these parks, can be found here:  "Hampton Parks Divestment Exploration: Preliminary Staff Review" (PDF)

Project contact:

John Stegmaier, 258-3458. jstegmaier@missoulacounty.us

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