Location: West of Clements Road, south of the Clark Fork River, north of the Bitterroot River.
Features: Kelly Island State Fishing Access Site; UM College of Technology West Campus; close to Blue Mountain Recreation Area
Public Schools: Target Range Elementary
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Missoula’s Target Range Neighborhood
Rural by design
By Breeana Laughlin for Real Estate Marketplace
Residents in Missoula’s west side Target Range neighborhood enjoy open space and a simple way of life.
Family farms are interwoven with new development in the Target Range area. Many neighborhood residences have large yards and acreage, including some with horses and livestock.
Longtime Target Range resident Peggie Morrison enjoys seeing deer in her yard and riding her horse down the street to the equestrian park.
“I enjoy the rural quality of the neighborhood,” Morrison said.
“My neighbor and I can yell out at each other but we can’t reach out and touch each other’s houses,” she said.
The neighborhood includes parks, baseball and soccer fields, wooded floodplains, river corridors and fishing-access sites. It also has also two shooting ranges and features the historic Fort Missoula.
There are a couple of small commercial sites in the neighborhood. The Target Range Market, which is also known as Dale’s Dairy, has become a neighborhood hub.
“Its nice to have a little corner grocery store to pick up some milk if you need it,” said neighborhood resident George Hirschenberger.
Hirschenberger said he also appreciates having nearby river access, and being able to walk down the street without worrying about traffic.
“The neighborhood has a rural flavor,” Hirschenberger said. “It is also small enough and contained enough that we have made friends and our neighbors are important to us.”
Morrison also pointed out the camaraderie of Target Range residents.
“It is very much the way it used to be – where neighbors wave at each other and say hi. If you need help, you give your neighbor a call and they’re right there. They are good people,” she said. “Most of us are probably farmers at heart. It’s not quite as hectic as it is inside the city limits.”
Residents living in the Target Range area have homes of various shapes and sizes. Some houses are almost brand new, while others are more than 50 years old. Some residents live in modest homes, while others live in mansions.
“There are a few people who buy a tract of land and it’s their little piece of heaven. But you don’t have gated communities. There’s no exclusivity,” Hirschenberger said.
“It doesn’t really make a difference, we are all just neighbors,” he said.
Target Range residents said they knew the area is subject to some growth, but they don’t want it to be ‘unchecked growth.’ The residents recently came together to complete a neighborhood plan. It addressed many of the qualities residents enjoy about living in the area, such as air and water quality, wildlife, open space, parks and more. It also outlined ways to enhance and preserve these neighborhood features.
The neighborhood plan describes the Target Range area as ‘rural by design.’
“That pretty much says it. That’s how we see the future out here,” Morrison said.
Breeana Laughlin is a freelance writer for the Missoulian.