Billings Chamber & More Want YOU To Fund $143 MILLION Bond
I'll admit, I'm not one to do the clickbait titles often... however, I feel this deserves it.
Also, this article IS factual but filled with a LOT of my opinion. You've been warned.
Today, the Billings Chamber of Commerce sent out an email to us "Media Partners" titled "Story Idea for Monday, July 10th"... and it revolves around costing the taxpayers of Billings even MORE money.
What Do They Want Money For Now?
In this email, we are informed the Billings Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Big Sky Economic Development, Parks Foundation, Parks Board, and TrailNet is "committed to efforts to invest in Billings' parks, recreation facilities and trails".
That is fantastic, as we all want to see improvements to our existing park offerings in Billings. The $143 million bond will go to fund "capital investment in the Billings' parks, recreation facilities, and trails".
$143 Million... But $135 Million For One Thing?
Here's where I take issue with this. We have a BUNCH of parks in Billings, at least compared to where I grew up. This $143 million bond they have proposed would see $135 million of it go exclusively to this new recreation center. Sure, it is a beautiful multi-purpose building... but the old saying "putting all our eggs in one basket" is coming up big here.
The plan is to slap the building down right next to Amend Park's soccer complex, behind Taco Bell and DQ on King Ave E.
Fine and well, but we have MANY recreational activities that have been funded by the taxpayers... and I have seen firsthand that they are slowly wasting away.
What about the remaining $8 million?
According to the release, the remaining $8 million will go toward completing "major trail projects, such as Stagecoach Trail", "funding the development uncompleted parks such as Castle Rock Park, Centennial Park, and Poly Vista Park", and repair/replace aging facilities such as the South Park Pool, and North Park Center.
The interesting thing there to me... I JUST wrote about the Grand Opening of Castle Rock Playground. How much more is needed? They have a baseball field, splash park, massive greenery, and now a playground.
Obviously, I am 100% for repairing issues at other parks... but it seems the attention has turned to this extremely expensive new building... rather than fixing what we already have.
A Capital Campaign To "Offset the cost to property owners"
To be fair, I could have just ended it there, however, in the release, they also noted "a capital campaign has been launched to raise private sector funds". A "major funding announcement" will be made that night during the meeting, where the City Council is expected to vote YES to charging you even more money.
When and Where?
If YOU want your voice to be heard on this, you can attend the meeting this Monday, July 10th, at ... who knows. The time for the meeting was left out of the email. Thankfully, I do have Google, and the next meeting is at 5:30 PM on July 10th.
It'll be held in the City Hall Council Chambers at 220 N 27th Street.
What are your thoughts?
Do you agree with spending even more money on a new building? Or would you rather see our existing offerings get improved and fixed? Let us know on App Chat or on Facebook.