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Ronan City Council hears Pioneer Days plan for MREC

by BERL TISKUS
Reporter | March 21, 2024 12:00 AM

Mike Bartel, former Ronan Mayor Kim Aipperspach and Amanda Symington, representing Ronan Pioneer Days, approached the city council about the Mission Range Event Complex land during the council meeting last Wednesday. The property is located on Mink Lane, behind Western Building Center.

They had talked to the city commission last fall about getting  a lease agreement from the city and then spoke to the Lake County Commissioners.

Bartel told the council that the commissioners weren’t interested in a lease, nor in removing the agricultural restriction on the property. 

“We brought up the idea of purchasing their interest, their portion of it, their two-thirds,” Bartel said. “They were, in my opinion, quite receptive to that.”

Since it’s easier and quicker for one government entity to sell to another, Bartel said his organization is asking the city to take ownership of the property. 

“We’re not asking for the city to put up any money for it – Pioneer Days would put up the money for the purchase and the infrastructure so there would be no burden on the tax base,” he added.

If the city of Ronan is willing, Pioneer Days would ask for an extended lease with terms that the group could rent to other organizations for some income and put that money right back into the infrastructure.

“Basically that’s what the county does with the fairgrounds in Polson,” Aippersach said.

The Pioneer Days group also met with the Lake County Commissioners Monday afternoon, March 18, to further discuss the matter.

The council also unanimously approved open container permits for the Ronan Irish Community Parade on St Patrick’s Day; and four public and private events at the Ronan Community Center, including the Ronan Chamber of Commerce Ag Appreciation Dinner on March 29 and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Dinner, on May 18.

The council’s next meeting will be March 26 at 6 p.m.