Community and business leaders broke ground on what is to be Butte's new $7.5 million parking garage Monday afternoon at 60 W. Park St. in Uptown Butte.

Urban Revitalization Agency Director Karen Byrnes thanked community agencies in a speech to an audience of around 50 before the groundbreaking, highlighting the collaborative effort between local government, business owners and neighbors.

"This is going to be a great catalyst for business in Uptown Butte," Byrnes said.

Project backers hope the 248 new parking spaces will attract more customers to Uptown businesses and spur investment opportunities.

Butte-Silver Bow Chief Executive Matt Vincent thanked NorthWestern Energy for doubling down its efforts in Butte, and enabling the tax increment financing funding Uptown development projects like the parking garage.

Commissioners recently agreed to the maximum price and approved an $8 million URA bond to finance construction. The bond is higher than the $7.4 million construction costs because more than $500,000 must be put in a reserve account for the project.

Property tax revenue from the URA’s Uptown tax-increment financing district will be used to pay back the bond over 23 years.

Byrnes said earlier the maximum price covers everything requested to construct the building as designed. Sletten Construction of Great Falls is the primary builder but it plans to hire several subcontractors.

The multi-story garage is expected to take about a year to build.