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Drone Racing Park Update

I sent an email to the Parks and Recs Board members and the MSB Parks and Recs staff person (Hugh Leslie) on May 21st asking a lot of questions about the proposed Drone Racing Park and proposed Management agreement.  However, I did not get any response.

MSB Drone Park email May 21 2018

Here are some of the Facebook screen shots referred to in my email.  (Mr. Colligan has since deleted his comments.)


The Drone Racing Park issue was discussed at the May 21st Parks and Recs meeting but the discussion was continued to their next meeting which was held this week.

Here is the agenda for the Parks and Recs Board’s June 25th meeting:

MSB PRTAB agenda

When I saw the agenda for the latest PRTAB meeting, I sent another email (to the same group) asking for more information – including a copy of the proposed management agreement:

MSB PRTAB email 2

The MSB staff person did not respond.  There are a LOT of unanswered questions about this proposed Drone Racing Park.

How can the public and the Parks and Recs board evaluate a proposal if we can’t actually review the proposal – i..e the proposed management agreement and site plans ??

A member of the Board did reply and suggested that I just attend the meeting. I explained that I was unable to do so because I had another activity to attend.  The next day she reported back about what happened at the meeting: No action was taken on the Drone Racing Park issue and there were no additional documents provided.  The Board requested more information and it will probably be online for the next meeting – July.

Then I noticed that there is also a meeting this week of the MSB Aviation Advisory Board and that the Drone Racing Park is also an item on that agenda.  (This is the Aviation board’s first meeting since February. It is odd that this agenda says “Drone Racing League Application UPDATE” as I didn’t see the Drone item on their February meeting agenda.)

MSB Aviation Board agenda

In the Aviation Advisory Board meeting packet, there is information from the Drone League:

MSB Aviation Board packet June 26 2018

Here are two highlighted pages from the Drone League’s documents:


My analysis:  The Drone League wants complete control of 50 acres. Also they seem to say – oh, we’ll agree to some joint use of our acreage – but it has to be “scheduled” joint use – i.e., no one can use this area unless they get permission ahead of time.  That is baloney.

I see a fuzzy picture of an airport.  Are they planning to build an airport?  The Drone League also mentions control of a “shared” parking lot.  What parking lot is this? Are they planning to build (or have the MSB build) a new parking lot near their new aiport or are they talking about a parking lot already at Jim Creek?

The Drone League seems to want the MSB to go in with them to obtain funding opportunities.  Of course they do.

This proposed project and the way the MSB has handled it stinks to high heaven.  The Drone League needs to buy their own land and build their own infrastructure.

Why should the MSB be pushed into assisting with this pet project of (former Assembly member) Steve Colligan’s??? Especially when his private business interests intersect so completely with his drone hobby.  What is the percentage of people in the MSB who are into drone racing? It is very small.  Who does this proposed Drone Racing Park really benefit??

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  1. […] And speaking of stumps – Who paid for the initial land clearing and berm? I noticed last summer when I went over to investigate that the “drone park” is located in an area that until fairly recently was wooded.  Now it is devoid of trees but there are lots of ugly tree stumps left there. It made no sense to me that the MSB (as part of the Jim Creek upgrades) would need to clear cut a big section of the woods right next to the campground and separate the clear cut area from the campground via a big berm.  What a coincidence that a bunch of land was clear cut and a berm was built by the MSB and NOW it is the site of the drone park!  (And if this was just a coincidence – please explain why in the world the MSB needed to clear cut a big chunk of forest right there.)  And – has the Drone League already taken over the larger 50 acre parcel? At first, they were just using the smaller area and when this item was on the PRTAB agenda last year several times, the proposal was for them to use a much bigger amount of land. However, the proposed “Management Agreement” never did materialize so it was taken off the PRTAB agenda.  So, the PRTAB never did get to vote on anything, and now – from the paperwork filed this week and placed on the agenda of the Assembly’s May 21st meeting (see the attachments), it seems like this project has morphed into an already approved Permit allowing the Drone folks to use a bigger area and make changes to it.   So – to summarize, my questions are: 1.  Who paid to clear cut the land in the first place and WHY was this land clear cut?  (I am a bit suspicious that the Drone League is now offering to clear up the stumps; is this because they sort of owe the MSB for doing the clear cutting for their “drone park”?)  2.  Why isn’t the MSB allowing the PRTAB, the Butte Community Council and the Aviation Board to give their opinions on this proposed park before it is approved? 3.  Why is this just an Informational Memo – instead of an item the Assembly can VOTE on? 4.  Is the public going to be prevented from using this area unless granted permission by the Drone League?    5.  What is the story about future infrastructure?  I saw something at one point about the Drone League planning to build some permanent infrastructure – maybe some sort of drone airport tower?  6.  Is the drone league going to need access to electricity?  7.  What is the length of this “permit”?  How much is Mr. Colligan’s group being charged by the MSB?  The MSB staff really needs to put all their cards on the table and tell the public what the entire plan is here…not just release tiny bits of information at a time.  It seems to me that there was a lot of “behind the scenes” maneuvering done here so that former Assembly Member Colligan and his group can set up their drone park.  Where was the public process?  Also – it is important to note that Mr. Colligan doesn’t just run a non profit drone group, he also has one (or more) private for profit companies which center around Drones.  So – if his group is allowed to set up a drone park and control access to the area – is he going to be allowed to use the area for his private for profit use?  Isn’t that a conflict of interest?  Please Advise OF COURSE I DID NOT GET ANY RESPONSE FROM THE MSB. Here are previous blogs posts about Mr. Colligan’s “Drone Park” on MSB land: […]

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