Veterans Peace Park lease renewed

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Great Northern Veterans Peace Park

The city of Whitefish will continue leasing its property off Ramsey Avenue to be part of the Veterans Peace Park.

City Council June 20 voted to renew a five-year lease with the Great Northern Veterans Peace Park Foundation.

Park developer Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Montana, began a mission several years ago to secure the open space for the public.

The city first approved an initial five-year lease on the property in 2011, which meant it was set to expire this year.

The sledding hills in the park are separated from Whitefish Cemetery by Ramsey Avenue. The topography and separation from the current cemetery leaves the land north and east of Ramsey unsuitable for use as a cemetery.

Zinke obtained the old gravel pit near the Whitefish Cemetery from BNSF Railway Co. for use as a recreation area.

In an email to the city, Zinke said the lease will allow him to assume noxious week control and liability on the city property.

This year, he wrote, the focus is on topsoil and seed, restoring the pond habitat and installing gates.

Zinke has said that future plans for the park could include a number of activities and events, in addition to already serving as the community sledding hill.

“The bottom line is the park is for public use and benefit,” he wrote in an email.

The cost of the lease is for $1 per year for the five-year term.

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