Last night, Thursday October 24th, the Northeast Neighborhood Association (NENA) met to discuss a couple things that impact their area of Bozeman. One of which is a large ice climbing wall and live event venue that is proposed for construction at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds. Noise complaints stemming from the HUSHUSH electronic music festival, on October 6th, have raised concerns in the NE neighborhood about noise levels. Specifically, noise from concerts running later than the Bozeman city noise ordinance allows for. The Ice Tower Group was at last night’s meeting to inform NENA about the proposed climbing wall/venue, and address the neighbors’ concerns.

bozeman ice tower

The Ice Tower and outdoor event center is the brain child of ice climber, mountain climber, author, adventurist, and Bozeman resident Conrad Anker. Mr. Anker brought the Montana State architecture and engineering schools into the planning with a contest. Teams of architects and engineers submitted ideas of how the climbing wall could look and operate, vying for cash prizes. Over 30 submissions where made. The winning submission came from Michael Spencer, Tymer Tilton, and PJ Kolnick. Their plan features the use of re-purposed materials, includes an economically sustainable plan, and also incorporates multiple uses for the structure making it socially sustainable to Bozeman. The seed money would be private, with rental of space for events paying for the upkeep. More detailed information is on the ice tower website.

There is no doubt that this structure, and the upgrading of fairgrounds land around the site, would be an amazing addition to the Bozeman community. From what I saw at the meeting NENA is not arguing against it. They agree that this is an amazing plan that was obviously thought out, and the amount of detail is impressive.  The NE neighborhood is concerned about noise. They are understandably worried that a venue like this will attract more concerts that will disturb their lives. We hear you NENA. Asking you to sacrifice a few nights a year for Bozeman’s sake is a lot to ask. So lets work together to come up with a solution that will help build Bozeman while not asking so much of you.

The Bozeman Ice Tower group is being proactive in finding a solution. The proposed site is on the north side of fairgrounds property putting buildings and space between the venue and residents. The venue also faces north east, aiming sound away from residents and toward the interstate. A 20 foot high fence with sound dampening hops vines grown on it are part of the plan. The project site would bring traffic in from Oak Street curbing traffic and parking in the NE neighborhood. Also, perhaps the biggest opportunity for NENA, concerned citizens can have decibel (DB) levels checked and noted during the upcoming Avalaunch Festival Pray for Snow Party on November 10th.

Chamberlin Productions, promoter of the Pray For Snow Party, is having this outdoor event at the fairgrounds in a similar position to the proposed Ice Climbing Tower and Event Center. If anyone would like to have the level of noise noted Chamberlin Productions and the Ice Tower group will come to your house with a DB meter and check the levels and note your comments during the event. Why would doing this be a benefit for a neighbor? Because the current Bozeman city noise ordinance is extremely vague and hard to enforce. It requires citizens to actively contact the police department and explain the situation. With DB levels of concern noted, a more specific noise ordinance can be put into place that will put the responsibility of enforcing it into the police’s hands and accountability for abiding by the noise ordinance on the event promoter.

Working to make the Bozeman noise ordinance standardized and acceptable by both sides will make the issue black and white and easily enforced.

If you would like DB levels measured and noted at your house please contact Tate Chamberlin of Chamberlin Productions at There is also a meeting tonight at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds office from 5pm-7pm discussing an action plan to find a solution.

What are your thoughts?