The economic development group BIRD is looking to add a dog park and disc golf course to North Park in the East Billings Urban Revitalization District (EBURD) with the goal of improving safety in the area.
Michelle Harkins, the executive director of Billings Industrial Revitalization District, said she just recently found out that her plans for the dog park earned a finalist position in the 2023 PetSafe Unleashed Bark for Your Park grant worth $50,000.
“This dog park is completely community-donated and sponsor-funded,” Harkins said on Monday.
Separate from the Billings parks bond that voters are seeing on their ballots this month, the BIRD has already raised $30,000 for the dog park. If the group gets the PetSafe Unleashed grant, it will be over halfway to its $111,000 goal.
“The goal is to just bring more people into the park and see how wonderful it is here. And as we continue to activate the park, we’re going to get rid of the unwanted activity here and really make it a safer place for this community,” Harkins said.
In order to get the thousands of dollars in grant money, the BIRD needs the community's help tovote online. The finalist with the most votes at the end of November will be the one to receive the grant.
The North Park Dog Park is one of 25 finalists nationwide, and the only one from Montana.
“To get the grant, we need to receive the most votes for our dog park," Harkins said. "So, vote every single day to the end of the month.”
Harkins's goal for North Park is to have it feel like a safer place for all to enjoy. The BIRD has already started making improvements to the park with the addition of lighting, and Harkins plans to continue making improvements to the park regardless of who gets the PetSafe grant.