Oct 19, 2011 8:05 PM by Angela Douglas - Q2 News
BILLINGS - For the first time in six years, the construction for a new neighborhood park in Billings is underway.
"I have taken my grandchildren around to many parks in the city and it's just so neat that we could have one right here in our neighborhood," exclaims Yellowstone Club Estates resident, Cheryle Pittack.
Neighbor, Cari Piatkowski, agrees.
"I think that's going to be awesome. There will be a great walking path and we have a lot of walkers," says Piatkowski. "The kids who are learning how to ride a bike, tricycles and people pushing strollers, they can all go on the path."
The new park will also include a playground, basketball court, sledding hill, gazebo, and a playing field.
It's a fate that the original 1960s neighborhood plans predicted at the corner of 54th St. West and Bobby Jones Boulevard, but it wasn't until last year that the residents decided to develop the land.
"When we learned that there was a possibility that the land could be sold for something else, the neighborhood decided we didn't want that," Piatkowski explains. "We wanted it to be what it was supposed to be from the beginning."
The land has been owned by the city of Billings for the past 30 years, but it has remained undeveloped.
The neighborhood approached the city, hoping to turn it into Yellowstone Family Park.
"We wanted the aesthetics to look nice. I mean, it's been an ugly field for a long time," admits Piatkowski.
The city's parks department was eager to work with the community, however every park needs a master plan and money for that wasn't in the city's budget.
"The homeowners association provided the funds to do a master plan," explains City of Billings Parks, Recreation, and Public Lands Director, Mike Whitaker.
The city approved the new park, but it was under the request of a special improvement district. Meaning the neighborhood is paying for the development of the park.
The new park is also unique in its layout by providing both irrigated and non-irrigated areas.
"One of our main efforts in the design is to be sensitive to the environment and also reduce the long-term maintenance costs on this," says City Park Planner, Mark Jarvis.
Costs that the homeowners will cover, and according to Pittack it's worth it.
"I think it will bring us together in a way that we haven't been brought together before because it will be a great meeting place for us," Pittack says. "And the kids will be off the streets and in the park. It will be a safe place for them to play."
The Yellowstone Family Park in four acres in size.
The park is expected to be completed by Spring of 2012.