Missoula Downtown Association
Established in 1975, the Missoula Downtown Association (MDA) is one of three organizations under the umbrella of the Downtown Missoula Partnership with the vision to lead and nurture a vibrant Downtown Missoula as a place where people are inspired to live, work, shop, and play.
The Missoula Downtown Association is a private, nonprofit, membership-based organization with the mission to “promote, support and enhance the vitality of downtown for the betterment of the community.” MDA’s goals are to support the business of downtown by enhancing the place of downtown. With nearly 550 members, the MDA focuses its efforts on advocacy, marketing and events, membership services, and downtown’s master plan.
The Missoula Downtown Association produces 60 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, Winter BrewFest, Garden City BrewFest, Parade of Light, Festival of Trees 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 two networking socials each month.
Managed by a board of directors—elected annually by the membership—and a staff of five, the MDA built and manages the pavilion in Caras Park. On the riverfront, Caras Park is Missoula’s city-center town square and home to nearly 100 annual festivals, major community events, weddings, reunions, business events, and more. Caras Park is also home to A Carousel for Missoula, Dragon Hollow play area, and adjacent to Brennan’s Wave in the Clark Fork River.
In an effort to build a comprehensive Downtown-focused organization, the Missoula Downtown Association created the Downtown Business Improvement District in 2005 and the Missoula Downtown Foundation in 2010. The MDA led the efforts to build the first-ever Downtown Master Plan in 2009 that has led to $850 million dollars of investment in the core of Missoula.
In partnership with the Downtown Business Improvement District and the Missoula Downtown Foundation, the MDA provides leadership and support to all Downtown stakeholders, including business owners, property owners, and general consumers. Located at 218 East Main Street, the Downtown Missoula Partnership led the effort to update the Downtown Master Plan in 2019, resulting in a new 10-year community vision for the heart of the city.
In addition to the planning and production of community festival and membership events, the MDA contributes significantly to the well-being and appeal of downtown in other ways:
- Manages events and bookings for the Caras Park Pavilion
- Installs and manages 110 flower baskets, 110 boulevard banners and 120 holiday decorations.
- Manages the Downtown Gift Card program ($350,000 sold in 2018).
- Creates and executes a comprehensive annual Downtown Marketing Campaign ($70,000).
- Developed and manages a comprehensive inventory of Downtown Missoula businesses and properties.
- Organizes regular Retail Promotions for Downtown.
- Offers networking and educational events for members.