Connect with us

Local News

Tuesday is the day to decide on the Billings Parks Bond



Billings, Montana – Billings will cast its vote on the hotly contested parks bond on Tuesday.

The $143 million bond covers sixteen distinct projects, including the construction of six new paths, the renovation of nine parks, and the addition of a sizable rec center close to Amend Park.

Like Cortland Dunn, many locals are supporting the extra projects and the improvements they will bring to the neighborhood.

“Places like parts bring people together,” Dunn said while walking his dog in Pioneer Park. “Parks are important for the kids and for the community.”

According to Dunn, the bond symbolizes the city’s efforts to improve citizens’ physical and mental well-being.

“It’s all about community and it’s about a healthy community,” Dunn said. “It’s about getting people outside and enjoying nature. It’s imperative that we invest in these things.”

Pam Puchalski and other locals are opting to vote against the bond. Puchalski’s main justification is that she thinks the money ought to go toward addressing other problems the city is having, like safety.

“There’s other things I want them to work on,” Puchalski said. “Building a million dollar plus Rec Center is not going to curve crime.”

Puchalski’s worries about safety coincide with the recent four-count gunshot deaths in Billings in a single week.

“To be honest with you, I was shocked when I woke up today and there wasn’t another shooting,” Puchalski said. “It’s terrible. It’s absolutely terrible.”

Tom Rupsis, a city councilman, is a strong supporter of the bond and thinks it will improve public safety.

“If we’re really going to solve this, we have to get on the prevention side,” Rupsis said. “The events of the past week are a real tragedy for everyone involved. We have to do those things that let our kids grow up in an environment where they understand they have opportunities.”

Although Rupsis admitted that passing this bond will not instantly address every issue, he feels that it is a positive move in the right way.

“Nobody expects our crime rate to go down 20 percent next year because we passed a park bond this year,” Rupsis said. “What we’re saying is that prevention is a generational challenge and for generations we’ve neglected this side of our community and we need to do better.”

However, locals like Puchalski are dubious that the community needs this tie in the first place.

“The kids that are out there with guns doing these shootings would not have been at a Rec Center,” Puchalski said. “The list goes on and on, but at the top of my list is not a Rec Center.”



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *