Missoula's summer events capitalizing on new Caras Park

Griffen Smith reporter

Lilacs, warm rain and crowds of people at Caras Park are good signs that summer has arrived.

This year, a major face lift around the downtown park near the river is bound to turn some heads.

“Caras feels more green, more friendly,” said Linda McCarthy, director of the Missoula Downtown Partnership. “The park feels much larger; it creates some space to be and to use.”

With the first stage in the giant project nearly complete, events like Out to Lunch or Downtown ToNight capitalize on the increased space and electric hook ups for the fast-increasing food truck business.

Nine months ago construction crews leveled the grassy hill and decades-old amphitheater that creates the south border of the small park.

Crews added more accessible seating space with rows of concrete blocks. Spaces in the front accommodate more than a dozen disability access spots. Prior to the update, there was no disability access.

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Grass carpets the ground between each row. A new, flat field sits on the other side of a path. Half of the project was fixing the park’s underground storm drainage system, which now treats runoff city water before

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