Billings TrailNet’s board of directors and staff will present the city of Billings $85,000 at a City Council meeting on Monday, July 26, 2021.
The City Council meeting is scheduled for 5:30 pm Monday, July 26 at the City Council Chambers on the 2nd Floor of City Hall at 220 N. 27th Street.
The money will be used as matching funds for the City’s BUILD (Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development) grant.
The City of Billings was awarded the BUILD grant from the federal government in fall of 2020, to build both the Inner Belt Loop and the Skyline Trail.
The Skyline Trail portion will cost $3 million, and the City of Billings has been working toward development of the trail since 2015, when it created the Highway 3 Corridor Study. That study was conducted to solve runoff problems from the rims as neighbors downhill face threats to their homes; plus provide designated parking along Highway 3 and, connect Swords Park to Zimmerman Park for safe nonmotorized transportation along the corridor.
With no funds available at the City to develop this trail along Highway 3, which is owned by Montana Department of Transportation, Billings TrailNet stepped in to help by convening meetings between MDT, The City of Billings, the Parks and Recreation Department and Sanderson Stewart: the engineering firm which conducted the initial study.
Billings TrailNet has been championing the trail ever since, and has raised nearly $200,000 to build it; spent nearly $200,000 to engineer it; and began constructing the first segment (the lowest hanging fruit) on the westernmost end of the trail, near Zimmerman Trail.
The $85,000 check for the Skyline Trail will bring the sum total of Billings TrailNet’s contributions to this project to nearly $400,000.
According to notes in the July 26 consent agenda, “as part of the local match for the successful BUILD Grant application [to] the City, local non-profit, Billings TrailNet, committed an $85,000 match to the Skyline Trail project. Billings TrailNet is now formally making the donation to the City.”
City Council may accept or reject the $85,000 donation from Billings TrailNet.
“Accepting the $85,000 donation will allow the City of Billings to fully construct the Skyline Trail. Not accepting the donation means that there will be a budget shortfall when constructing the Skyline Trail. In addition, this donation was specified in the BUILD grant application as a funding source,” it explains.
If accepted, the money will be placed in a trails account in the General Fund to help pay for the construction of the Skyline Trail.
Billings TrailNet’s role in the community is to help the City of Billings build trails when it has a funding shortfall for this type of infrastructure so vital to the health and safety of all non-motorized traveling and recreating residents.