Daily Inter Lake: Kalispell Kicks of Parkline Trail construction

by Bret Anne Serbin

Despite gloomy weather Monday evening, Kalispell’s future looked bright at a ceremony celebrating the start of construction on the Parkline Trail.

Kalispell Mayor Mark Johnson signed a nearly $6 million contract with Mitchell Hill of Sandry Construction Co. to begin installation work on the long-awaited trail corridor connecting downtown and the Woodland Park area.

It was a moment more than a decade in the making.

Key players from the process of bringing the trail to fruition were in attendance Monday in Depot Park, including longtime city planning director Tom Jentz, who retired in 2020. Representatives from U.S. Sens. Steve Daines and Jon Tester’s offices also were in attendance.

Sandry Construction is expected to start work this summer on removing the defunct railroad tracks and replacing them with a 2-mile linear trail.

The trail is part of a multimillion-dollar effort to revitalize downtown Kalispell with recreational amenities, commercial space and residential housing.

The city received a $10 million federal grant to fund the project – and other infrastructure improvements – in 2015. Since then the city has secured a right-of-way from the BNSF Railway Co., and businesses that depend on rail were relocated to the new Glacier Rail Park industrial site northeast of the city.