Study reveals feasibility of a Yellowstone County sports facilit - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Study reveals feasibility of a Yellowstone County sports facility

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BILLINGS, Mont. -

A public presentation occurred Monday in Billings, on the feasibility of a Yellowstone County sports facility.

In a news release from Big Sky Economic Development, the study offers a market needs assessment, financial analysis, opportunities, and recommendations.

Victus Advisors is an agency that was asked to do a study in Yellowstone County because there is a growing need for sporting event facilities and providing venues to host regional and state sporting events which can ultimately boost the local economy. The agency spent 8 to 10 weeks extensively researching the idea.

Brian Connolly with Victus Advisors said one of the research components was an online survey that received close to 850 responses from the community.

"The one thing we heard was not necessarily that Yellowstone County needs more fields, they just need access to existing fields," Connolly said. "So the two ways that you can do that are converting some of those grass fields to artificial turf and then the second thing was adding lights."

One of the recommendations from Victus was to upgrade both Stewart and Amend parks.

The study also revealed that because of the popularity of sports like baseball, soccer, ice hockey, swimming, and basketball, an indoor multi-course, multi-use center would be very useful
.  
"I'm excited about South Billings because of all the developments that are happening near field house, south first avenue, and new offices," South Billings Resident Andrew Houlihan said. "Now you hear about the highway and there's tons of hotels in that area. So seeing more growth to support that existing infrastructure is exciting."

The city council allowed for public comment on this study. More than 10 people spoke and all were in support of a new sports center.

"The hockey community as Billings grows is quickly outgrowing," Joshua Colbertson said. He is the president of the Magic City Adult Hockey Association."Like i mentioned, we've seen success around the state. Bozeman has a very large program. Missoula, I believe, has one of the largest USA hockey memberships per capita in the nation. So we know that hockey in Montana can work if we can just get a facility."

The plan to fund the new facility, is in the works.

"The facility needs are pretty apparent," Steven Zeier said. Zeier is the president of Zeier Consulting and is contracted to administer and manage the facility project for the South Billings Renewal Association. "There's been a lot of discussion about what this community needs for courts, ice, and pool. The numbers that were discussed are approximately 4 million dollars in Fiscal Year 2019, which begins July 1st."

The new facility would need public as well as private funding. Zeier said a few local businesses have stepped up to the plate to help financially in order to make the new sports center a reality because they feel it will help the local economy.

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