BIG TIMBER — The Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame is stepping back from plans to open a large facility here after years of planning, saying undisclosed wetlands on part of the properties leased by the organization swamped their plans.
Back in 2012 the nonprofit picked Big Timber for its first physical location that, if everything went to plan, would eventually have a heritage center, exhibition hall, event center, a place to display information about the Hall of Fame inductees, an outdoor arena and more.
The spot was seemingly perfect: a building erected for a Ford dealership that never opened and an adjacent 24-acre parcel, easily viewed from Interstate 90 and right off the exit for the west side of town. A prospectus estimated it could draw 98,600 visitors a year to a community where that kind of economic boost would make a huge difference.
But now organizers say the wetlands, and more specifically the lack of being able to work with the owner of the property the wetlands sit on, have quashed all that.
“Rather than remedy the previously undisclosed and presently unmitigated wetland issues that our board discovered through our development efforts at the site, the landowners have chosen to terminate the lease to purchase contracts,” read a statement last week from Hall of Fame vice president and communications director Ariel Overstreet-Adkins.
“No path forward to develop the building site exists. This termination reverts the land and all site i ...