Riverside Park too important to languish

From the Publisher
By: 
DAVID KEYES
Outlook Publisher

The Outlook is pleased to see that the city of Laurel wants local input and advice on what to do with Riverside Park.
Please plan on attending the open house on Monday, Aug. 14, from 4-7 at Jaycee Hall. It is our hope that an outpouring of public sentiment will get the city moving on a project that has languished.
Also glad to see that city planner Noel Eaton is taking charge and since she is relatively new, it isn’t her fault the city hasn’t acted on this since the 2011 flood.
The city of Laurel is completely mismanaging Riverside Park and each day tourists haven’t been able to stay or camp overnight here, has been a lost opportunity for our town to attract attention and tourist dollars.
Many towns would see our neglected park as an opportunity, while Laurel’s leaders chose to ignore it while money to repair it has sat in a bank account. How much money? Come to the Aug. 14 meeting to find out.
A quick list of the amenities at Riverside Park include:
• Easy access to I-90 and location on Highway 212. Red Lodge, Beartooth Highway and Yellowstone Park await.
• Next to Yellowstone River.
• Historical buildings and a colorful past.
• Connection to Lewis and Clark expedition.
• Room to roam. Horseshoe pits.

Laurel is the only city in Montana without a campsite for RVs or tents and is definitely the only city with a bunch of money available to fund improvements.
The campsites and bathrooms should have been repaired as soon as money became available. It would be our hope that the city will decide to at least start there with any plans to improve the park.
If the boat dock area needs to be fixed it should be done as well.
Nothing can be done to change the past. Nothing will bring back the tourists who would have filled the campground last year for the all class reunion or the Legion baseball tournament. And nothing can be done to help the merchants who would have seen more customers in their restaurants and stores for the past five or so years.
But something could and should be done now.
Greg Childs visited Rotary this week and reminded members that Laurel used to be a key stopover for people driving along the Yellowstone Trail. Motorists would fill their vehicles with almost, as much oil as gas and would stay in a free motor park near Woods Powr Grip.
The Yellowstone Trail was famous throughout the country and the highway was Laurel’s Main Street.
More and more people are hitting the road these days in RVs and campers and are looking for interesting places to stay. Laurel has a lot to offer and Riverside Park could easily be the magnet to attract them.
Here’s hoping folks attend the Aug. 14 meeting to remind the city that Riverside Park is important and to have a say in its future. We hope there is enough of a green light that the city gets moving in bringing the park back to life and gives Laurel a shot in the arm at the same time.

David Keyes is publisher of the Laurel Outlook.

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Fourth Tuesdays, 7 p.m., Eagles Hall, 313 W. Main, 628-4503
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., check www.laurelexchangeclub.org for more info. Find them on Facebook www.facebook.com/laurelexchangeclub . Email them to find out meeting time and to join: clubinfo@laurelexchangeclub.org The club will have a meeting or volunteer activity. Meeting location is Sid's East Side Bar & Grill on first and third Wednesdays of each month. Members and guests eat free.  Volunteer activity on the second Wednesday of each month. Check their facebook page for updates.  Every fourth Wednesday is for a club social activity. 
Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961

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