Parks department hosts public information meeting - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Parks department hosts public information meeting

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On Wednesday, the City of Billings Parks Department hosted a public information meeting to learn about the community's needs for park facilities and recreation programs.

The last time a community park was built, was back in 1981 and this is the first comprehensive plan update for Billings Parks and Recreation since the 1990s.

Dozens of community members attended the meeting, where they reviewed a statistical survey which outlined local market potential for general sports, fitness, and outdoor recreation, as well funding opportunities, and what is under-served, and important.

Billings resident, Claire Oakley said, “Really appreciated the fact that they emphasized they had a statistically valid survey. As somebody with a scientific background, statistically valid data is extremely important to me.”

More than 500 surveys were completed, either through mail or the web and when it comes to what is important for most households, 3 of the 4 items are pool related.

“The need for an aquatics center to enhance swimming opportunities in the area is huge. Not everybody needs to know how to play basketball, not everybody needs to know how to play football, everybody needs to learn how to swim.,” said Sean Marshall.

“An aquatics center in our market, to me, would be a wonderful program and I support it,” said Terry Odegard.

Of course that wasn't the only important issue to the community. Oakley said, “I think from a public health perspective, it would be very nice if our parks were tobacco free for health of everybody using those parks.”

The parks department said they are only a third of the way through this learning process and will have more opportunities for community dialogue in the future.

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