Missoula Downtown Association
Established in 1975, the Missoula Downtown Association is a private, nonprofit, membership-based organization. Its mission: “Promote, support and enhance the vitality of downtown for the betterment of the community.” With its goal to support the business of downtown by enhancing the place of downtown, MDA focuses its efforts on advocacy, marketing and events, membership services and downtown’s master plan.
The Missoula Downtown Association produces 75 events annually. Half of these are major all-community events that each year draw an estimated total of 250,000 people to Downtown Missoula: River City Roots Festival, Garden City BrewFest, Garden City River Rod Run, Parade of Light and two summer music-in-the-park series, Out to Lunch and Downtown ToNight. The rest of MDA’s schedule comprises smaller membership events, including three networking socials each month.
With nearly 450 members, MDA is managed by a board of directors — elected annually by the membership — and a staff of five.
MDA built and manages the pavilion in Caras Park. On the riverfront, Caras is Missoula’s city-center park and home to annual festivals, major community events, A Carousel for Missoula, Dragon Hollow play area, reunions, weddings and more. With MDA support, Caras is a favorite downtown destination for individuals, friends, families and groups of all sizes. In 2011 MDA invested an additional $200,000 to build a permanent stage with amenities in the park.
- The Missoula Downtown Association in 2005 created the Downtown Business Improvement District to ensure downtown has the financial resources needed for common area maintenance, improved safety and economic development initiatives.
- MDA and the Downtown BID in 2009 spearheaded the development of a first-ever Downtown Master Plan to lay the foundation for improvements and economic development in Missoula’s urban core. The plan outlines the 25-year future for downtown Missoula in the areas of land use and circulation, business development, infrastructure, employment, housing, parking, tourism and more.
- With the master plan approved, in 2010 MDA and Downtown BID created the Missoula Downtown Foundation to support implementation of the master plan through revenue generation and diversification via grants and planned gifts. Through this effort MDA in 2011 secured a $50,000 grant from the Montana Office of Tourism for Caras Park improvements. The Missoula Redevelopment Agency and the Missoula Parking Commission are partners in the foundation funding effort.
- The MDA contributes significantly to the well-being and appeal of downtown in many other ways:
- Installs and manages 90 flower baskets, 110 boulevard banners and 120 holiday decorations.
- Manages the Downtown Gift Card program ($160,000 sold in 2011).
- Manages a comprehensive Downtown Image Marketing Campaign ($70,000 in 2011).
- Developed and manages a comprehensive inventory of Downtown Missoula businesses and properties (this long-term effort started in 2011).
Please call 406.543.4238.
Find the Missoula Downtown Association online at www.missouladowntown.com.