Bozeman is fastest growing community in U.S. - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Bozeman is fastest growing community in U.S.

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Main Street Historic District, Bozeman, Montana (Chris06) Main Street Historic District, Bozeman, Montana (Chris06)

The Bozeman housing market and infrastructure are growing fast, and there are no signs of it stopping soon.

“We are the fastest-growing community in the United States at about 4.6 percent growth for Bozeman and Gallatin County,” said Daryl Schliem, CEO and President of Bozeman Chamber of Commerce.

Schliem said that the rapid growth is not about to let up in the next three years. Even from just last year, Bozeman has grown by 1,800 people.

“I'm going to say, in the city limits, we're going to grow by nearly 2,000 people, and if you look at the projects being slated, with now multiple-story buildings downtown to do the infill, I think you have seen the encouragement of that within the city limits,” said Schliem.

According to the Chamber, the biggest challenge Bozeman will face as businesses expand to keep up with the growth is workforce availability, not just quantity, but also quality.

“That's why it's going to be important for us to work with Gallatin College, with the high school, with dual credits and Montana State University to continue to grow our homegrown in Montana, that you can come to Bozeman and make a great living,” said Schliem.

One idea that is gaining more prevalence is having a local option sales tax as a way to gain more revenue from tourists, since Bozeman is such an entry point.

“We know people are afraid of a new tax," said Schliem. "A new tax means a higher property tax, but again, if you go back to the numbers of 4.8 million visitors and $668 million dollars spent in Gallatin County."

With these huge visitor numbers, this traffic is also affecting the Bozeman International Airport.

"[We're] focusing on what our other opportunities are...longer distance, east coast flights, places like Boston and San Diego," said Director of Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, Brian Sprenger."

If the airport continues to expand, they could be looking at building a second concourse in 2019 and even expanding to bring in Southwest and JetBlue airlines.

“They focus on the top 100 markets in the country, and we're not quite there yet," said Sprenger. "We're about 114th, so we've got a little ways to grow."

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