East Helena Community Planning Charrette
EPA Region 8, City of East Helena, Lewis and Clark County
East Helena, Montana
From the late 1800s until 2001, the Asarco Smelter functioned as the engine of the local economy and became a vital part of the community’s history and heritage. However, smelter operations also led to the contamination of significant portions of East Helena and surrounding Lewis and Clark County. In 2009, the city annexed Asarco’s former lands to allow for future growth and development. As EPA and the Montana Environmental Custodial Trust were pursuing cleanup activities, the local community needed to develop a future use vision for the annexed lands that could guide cleanup and local planning and development efforts.
In coordination with EPA Region 8, the Montana Environmental Custodial Trust Group and local government stakeholders, Skeo Solutions designed and facilitated a community charrette to develop a vision and set of future land use concepts for revitalization in East Helena. Funded by EPA’s Superfund Redevelopment Initiative, the workshop engaged over 45 local stakeholders and resulted in a community-wide revitalization strategy focused on three priority areas:
- Land Use and Development – future land use goals and preliminary development options for catalyst sites and areas positioned for new economic growth.
- Cultural Heritage – a conceptual plan for the reuse of the historic Asarco Plant Manager’s mansion and grounds as a heritage museum and event venue.
- Habitat and Recreation – a strategic plan to enhance trails and habitat along Prickly Pear Creek and link the creek corridor to a regional trail network connecting the communities of East Helena, Helena and Montana City.
The City of East Helena, Lewis and Clark County and regional partners now have a revitalization concept plan and a set of near-term action items guiding economic development, heritage, recreation and restoration efforts.