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Bigfork continues to hone village priorities

February 1, 2019 GMT

Bigfork residents, groups and organizations will gather Saturday for a third town-hall meeting to discuss the results of a survey identifying the top 10 issues facing the community.

The goal for this session, according to organizing committee member Chany Ockert, will be to split participants up into small groups to discuss each topic.

By combining individual experience, past knowledge and talent into a collective conversation, Ockert said she hopes the meeting will illuminate pathways for citizens to join together to tackle each concern.

The top 10 issues identified by the 150 residents who participated in the village-wide survey in November include affordable housing, seasonality and full-time amenities, growth and open-space plan, walking and bike trails, creating a sustainable future, lack of community and public access to the lake, economic opportunities for younger people, affordable youth facilities, working together and with the county and the lack of law enforcement.

Some groups and individuals, according to Ockert, have already begun addressing a few of the topics, and interested participants at the town hall meeting will have the opportunity to come alongside them to help.

Other topics, such affordable housing, likely will take several years to fully address.

“But we have to start,” Ockert said.

The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office will send a deputy to take part in the community conversation about law enforcement within the unincorporated village and to relay the information and concerns expressed back to the county.

“Bigfork has a long history of working together,” Ockert said. “It is very gratifying to see how Bigfork wants to continue to work together.”

The last town hall brought together around 70 participants. Ockert said she hopes to see that number increase to around 100 at this Saturday’s meeting.

All Bigfork businesses, individuals, groups and organizations are invited to attend, but no individual entity will act as host for the event.

“We’re creating a process,” Ockert said. “We don’t have an outcome or agenda other than that.”

Reporter Mary Cloud Taylor can be reached at 758-4459 or mtaylor@dailyinterlake.com.