Long time rumblings about doing something better with Coulson Park are starting to become a little closer to reality, with Billings Parks & Rec Department releasing some preliminary drafts of four different possibilities.

If you've never been to Coulson Park, I guarantee you've driven past it a thousand times on the interstate. Located south of I-90 between the 27th Street exit and Lockwood Exit, the park is very undeveloped. There is a boat ramp.  Two outhouses. A few really bumpy dirt roads. Part of Billings trail systems bike path runs through, on the very south edge of the park between the park and the Yellowstone River.

Here's another pic:

Coulson Park - Credit: Michael Foth TSM
Coulson Park - Credit: Michael Foth TSM

It really is a beautiful area, about 50 acres, with the Rimrocks and Sacrifice Cliffs in the background across the river. I remember a few years ago there was a country concert event out there and I thought, "what a great location, with SO much potential".

Obviously, the park cannot be commercially developed with retail or hotels. That would be awesome though if there were riverfront restaurants and attractions! Maybe the old coal plant site right next to the park could be used for such purposes? It's probably in a floodplain, but you never know.  A guy can dream, right?

Even without any brew pubs or retail spots, the four different designs they are mocking up for Coulson Park right now look pretty cool. Check them out HERE on the city website. Make sure to give them your feedback, or forever hold your peace when you don't like what they eventually come up with. Some of the ideas include: various park facilities/playground equipment, an event type area, a dog park portion, a bike course and lots of other sweet design concepts.

When I was out there today (noon on a Monday) there were only two cars and a Park and Recs truck out there. It would be great to see this area utilized more. If Great Falls can develop their riverfront area, surely we can do better here in Billings, right? :)

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