By Evelyn Pyburn

With Metra Park officials seeking public input as to what the community would like to see emerge in the recently opened-up spaces at the facility, one of the dozens of citizens interviewed by the master planners has put forth a new idea which seems to have caught the imagination of many.

Well-known Billings businessman, Charlie Yegen, who is a descendent of one of the community’s pioneer families and who has long served as a leader for the Yellowstone County Museum, has suggested that a cultural center would be a perfect addition to Metra Park, as well as the community in general. He was joined by a number of others on Monday to present the concept to County Commissioners.

A cultural center would accommodate a wide range of exhibits and programs that would “promote, preserve, and disseminate the historic and modern cultures of the greater Yellowstone River Valley.” The facility Yegen envisions would be a destination showcase that would serve Billings very much like the Buffalo Bill Center in Cody, Wyoming. Yegen sees a cultural center as a feature that would amplify the many visitor attractions in the region, including the museum in Cody, Little Big Horn Battlefield, Pompey’s Pillar, Pictograph Caves, Beartooth Pass and more. Being located at Metra Park, it would complement all its activities, “whether it be the rodeo or the midway.” And, it would be there to do that every day of the year, while serving as an attraction unto itself.

Yegen said that the light bulb came on for him in talking to Metra Park planners about potential attractions. In drawing on his long-standing efforts to relocate and expand the Yellowstone County Museum, the two visions merged. A cultural center would of course be more than a museum – and in fact it could consolidate and interweave a number of cultural aspects of the community.

It would support a vibrant economy with increased tourism and add to our quality of life and educational opportunities.

Ideas were quickly offered by others as they caught onto the idea and began brainstorming. It would be about “Cowboys and Indians,” exclaimed Dr. Joseph McGeschik, an MSU-Billings instructor and tribal liaison, who was among those present. “Cowboys and Indians are what people want to see when they come here.”

It could include an Indian Art Center, explain our agriculture, our history and heritage.

It would be located at a convergence of many city features, bike trails, Boot Hill, Yellowstone Kelly’s memorial, sacred Indian grounds, Swords Park and Alkali Creek where dinosaur fossils have been found – and note— dinosaurs are becoming an ever greater ‘big deal’! It could meld with the Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame, horticulture gardens, and more.

The center would address the need for a regional repository – a facility to which people can donate collections and valuable artifacts that all too often go to other parts of the country. “There is an amazing amount of artifacts and papers out there stored in spare bedrooms,” said Yegen, “All those fabulous collections, and a lot of folks have all that stuff and wonder what to do with it.”

“The potential is amazing,” said Yegen, and “there isn’t a sector in the community that shouldn’t benefit.” Yegen wants feedback from others. If there is enough support, the next step would be to form a group of interested individuals to develop the concept. “We need an organization to come up with the goals and objectives and theory of operation,” he said.

Opens Registration

Once again the Montana Women’s Run is planning a virtual event because of COVID constraints, but this year is special because Montana’s premier race is celebrating its 40th anniversary on race day, May 8.  The opening of registration has been announced along with the unveiling of this year’s t-shirt design.

Each year participants receive a long-sleeve t-shirt sporting a unique design, the revelation of which is looked forward to with eager anticipation by thousands of women. This year, neighborhoods and trails will be filled with small groups of walkers and runners doing the 2-mile or 5-mile races, wearing the 2021 royal blue shirt. 

 The special 40th Anniversary shirt artwork was designed by a local female graphic design artist. The 2021 artwork is bright, celebratory and energetic, much like the event and participants. The shirt features Bitterroot-shaped flowers, in keeping with the Montana Women’s Run tradition, and a silhouette of a running shoe in acknowledgement of the design of one of the original Montana Women’s Run shirts. The circular placement of the type and shoelace embodies movement and communicates unity while symbolizing the wholeness of health and wellbeing for women. The fresh design brings the tradition of the Montana Women’s Run past and race’s movement into the future together in one design.

The Montana Women’s Run began in 1982 with 200 registrants and celebrated last year with over 4,820 women participating virtually around the world. Today, the race is recognized as the largest running event for women in the state of Montana, and one of the largest all-women’s races in the country. To date, the Montana Women’s Run has donated more than $1,457,500 to local organizations that promote women’s and children’s health and fitness. The major sponsors of the 2021 Montana Women’s Run are Billings Clinic, ExxonMobil, First Interstate Bank, Graphic Imprints, The Planet 106.7 and KTVQ.

To register for any of the events, visit www.womensrun.org.   

T-shirts, race numbers and a small gift will be mailed to all participants who register before May 2. Proceeds from the event benefit charitable organizations in Billings that contribute to women’s health and wellness.

In the realm of real estate few names are as founded with Billings as that of Floberg. The company, now known as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Floberg Realtors, has been purchased by Charles “Dan” and Beth Smith from founders Don and Marilyn Floberg and partners, Tom and Robin Hanel, and Linda Parker and Mike Oliver.

The company was founded in 1959 and its growth has paralleled that of Billings. Its sale incidentally coincided with the death of Don Floberg on December 15, 2020.

The Smiths have been part of the Floberg team for two years, having brought with them experience in real estate and in business. Tom Hanel will continue as the Managing Broker, and he and Robin will remain as a top sales team with the company.

After over a half century in the real estate business, Don and Marilyn decided six years ago to phase out of the business by selling part of it to the Hanels, with the idea that they would eventually become sole owners. That was the plan, but about a year ago the Hanels realized the priorities in their lives had changed and they were not as inclined to pursue ownership any more.

“We don’t plan to retire,” said Tom, “but we want to have more flexibility in our lives.” Like many people, Tom and Robin were discovering that with the responsibilities of aging parents and the joys of many grandchildren, there were other things they wanted to do.

After discussing the matter with the Flobergs, it was decided they would sell the whole business. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Floberg Real Estate is a franchise with offices in Red Lodge and Columbus, as well as Billings.

The decision to sell was quite easy once the Smiths were identified as the prospective purchasers. They were the perfect couple to continue the Floberg legacy, said the Hanels. “They will make all of us proud.”

Don and Marilyn, still very active in the business, were initially concerned about being able to find new owners who would be committed to continuing the legacy and maintain the business as the “Number 1” agency in Billings and a top performer with Berkshire Hathaway, but in coming to know Dan and Beth as part of the Floberg team those concerns were allayed.

“They were completely on board,” said Hanel, and Don was pleased to be able to sign some of the closing documents days before he died.

The Smiths moved to Billings ten years ago from Kansas. Dan was in corporate management and Beth was for 15 years a real estate appraiser. Tom Hanel sold them their home in Billings, and the families quickly became good friends.

The Smiths, who have three children, quickly fell in love with Billings and Montana, and were not the least bit interested in moving, when Dan’s company wanted to transfer him to Denver.

The solution for the Smiths was to buy a business, about which they consulted with their good friend and real estate advisor, Tom Hanel. Hanel suggested that they both get their real estate licenses and join Floberg Real Estate. It was a perfect fit. “We love it here,” said Beth Smith, “the comradery, the atmosphere, the giving spirit of everyone. We are very blessed that it worked out the way it did.”

Charles “Dan” Smith says, “Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Floberg Real Estate is a superior company as a result of an amazing Franchise in Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, exceptional agents, and a top notch administrative team.”

Their primary goal, said Beth Smith, is “not to mess anything up.”

The Flobergs have built such a great foundation, she continued, “our challenge will be to continue what they started” in the business and in the community. The Flobergs have long been noted for their community involvement.

Hanel, who has been managing Floberg Real Estate, will continue as manager and a mentor to the Smiths for another year or so, but then phase into focusing on real estate sales with Robin, as the top real estate team. Robin stressed that neither of them have any intention of leaving the business any time soon, and that they want to be supportive of the Smiths.

Floberg Real Estate, the second oldest consecutive operating real estate business in Billings, employs six full time staff people and has almost 60 agents. The name will remain the same as will the trusted and dependable service and support for their clients.

Returning home to Billings, after serving five years in the Marine Corp, Seth Stovall couldn’t find a job he really liked. Since he has always been interested in guns and enjoys every aspect of learning about them — shooting for sport and recreation, as well as the training he had in the military – Stovall has opened a gun store in Lockwood.

The new store, called Castle Arms, is located at 2750 Old Hardin Road, Ste. D, a strip mall at the corner of Johnson Lane and Old Hardin Road.

“I have grown up with guns,” he said – hunting as a youth and  “learning a lot in the military.” His experience gives him a lot of insight and knowledge about guns. And, he adds, “I completely respect the second amendment.”

The store will specialize in AR style (Armalite Rifle) guns, as well as other guns and fire arm accessories. Starting a retail gun store at a time when fire arms and ammunition are in high demand and in short supply is something of a “slow process”, but Stovall said that it is growing and distributors are supportive and he expects to expand.

Hours of the business are from 10 am to 6 pm, Tuesday through Saturday.

Stovall attended Shepherd High School and attended Rocky Mountain College, getting a degree in information technology.

Stovall expressed his gratitude to everyone who has helped him launch his new business.

By Evelyn Pyburn

Following the experience of the heavy hand of government laid upon small businesses over the past year, one must hope that business people are rethinking their ideas about benefits of any “health and safety” they think emanate from the helping hand of “big brother.”

The experience lays bare also the emerging reality of how businesses are being used by government.

More and more business owners are being forced by government to function like an extension of government – at considerable expense and under ominous threats  — burdens that detract considerably from their ability to function as a successful business.

From being tax collectors and health care providers, to enforcing smoking laws or policing citizen conduct, businesses have become an uncompensated department of government over-reach. It’s time that it be identified for what it is and stopped.

Part of the strategy of coercion lies in the regulatory and licensing process that has been heaped onto business for decades, now. Sometimes that has happened with the willing cooperation of some businesses as they hoped to gain some advantage over their competition.

But, given that the past few months have blatantly demonstrated how the regulations and licensing and permitting powers they granted to government can boomerang, one has to hope that thinking business people will seriously reconsider their ideas about regulations and any competitive advantage they might think it gives them. Hopefully they have seen how serious the loss of their liberties can be.

 At every turn, business people who wanted to claim their civil rights to produce and serve and exchange value for value, with willing fellow citizens called customers, their freedom has been usurped by unelected, well-paid bureaucrats utilizing unlegislated laws and under threat by non-police police, of fines and imprisonment. Non- compliance has meant the very real possibility of losing their business, their livelihood, their investments and life savings. If that doesn’t incentivize a moment of reconsideration, nothing will.

Absolutely none of this in any way reflects the characteristics of a free county, and it sets in place an escalating course that can only get worse and utterly destroy the foundation of what has been the most vital business environment that has ever existed. Stopping it means reversing many of the existing restraints on business and it all begins at home and in the state legislature where it was initially implemented.

Bright n’ Beautiful, the Keep America Beautiful affiliate for Yellowstone County announced that it has recognized the Liberty & Vine Downtown Billings Cleanup team, headed by Amy and Jason Pawlowski, with its Community Star Award for 2020.

The annual award recognizes those who have made valuable contributions to the beauty and well-being of Billings and Yellowstone County.

Describing themselves as “true believers in the spirit of Billings,” Liberty & Vine Country Store owners, Amy and Jason Pawlowski, converted a 1914 brick warehouse into a downtown shopping destination on historic Montana Avenue in 2018. Last January, Amy posted a video on the store’s Facebook page showing a litter-strewn Montana Avenue, describing it as “shameful” and “embarrassing” for a community as proud as Billings.

Amy and Jason resolved to become part of the solution. They established a monthly Sunday morning litter clean up event, inviting other business owners and friends to join them. Over the last challenging year, they have carried on with litter cleanups; neighboring businesses sometimes taking the lead and other organizations contributing as sponsors.

“We do believe by relying on each other and working together, we can make a difference in Billings,” said Amy.

“We are happy to recognize Amy and Jason and the Liberty & Vine team as our shining 2020 Community Stars,” said Bright n’ Beautiful executive director Joanie Tooley. “They are determined to create a better Billings with their friendly, hands-on approach to downtown problems. We are blessed to have Amy and Jason and the Liberty & Vine crew working their magic in the Magic City and we support their ongoing efforts.”

Liberty & Vine Country Store is located at 2019 Montana Avenue. The unique and inviting store offers Montana made or grown products, general goods, home decor and antiques in a sunny and uplifting atmosphere.

To join the next Liberty & Vine Downtown Cleanup, meet in the parking lot on Sunday, February 7 at 8:00 am, clean up until 10:00 and stay for delicious refreshments. Visit Liberty & Vine Country Store on Facebook or www.libertyandvine.com or call 406-534-8667.

By Evelyn Pyburn

It’s one of those cases where a Montanan wanted to come back home.

Dan Burgess and his wife, Tina, are opening in Billings the second location of a business they started in order to make their home in Montana. Featuring a unique physical fitness program they have opened Lagree MT Fitness Studio in Shiloh Commons, right next door to Sophie’s. They opened their first location in Missoula just over a year ago, which has been successful beyond their greatest expectations.

A graduate of Senior High School and the University of Montana, Burgess has had opportunities to explore many other parts of the country. He and Tina decided to make their home in Denver, where they became the parents of two children, and where both were engaged in lucrative jobs.

Tina, from Texas, had ample opportunity to become acquainted with Montana as they returned frequently to visit Dan’s parents and friends.

On one of those trips, they left the kids with Grandma and Grandpa and headed to one of their favorite get-a-ways, Chico Hot Springs. On the drive, Tina asked, “Why don’t we live here?” They had come to realize that while their jobs paid well, both “hated” their jobs, and Dan especially hated his daily two-hour commute to work. Their children were getting older and Dan wanted to be more involved with them. As a former football and basketball player, he wanted to be a volunteer coach for his kids and to be able to have time to take his family on outings in the summer – like going on a river float.

“We would have to start our own business,” was Dan’s reply to Tina’s question, because there just wasn’t the opportunity in Montana for the kind of jobs they had. The problem with starting their own business was a lack of “seed capital,” he said.

But, they did have seed capital, pointed out Tina – they had their house in Denver which had escalated in value beyond their wildest imagination. Hmmm, that’s something Dan figured he should have been first to think of, with a degree in financing and a masters from Simon Business School of the University of Rochester. But then, Tina, has her own business marketing degree from the University of San Diego.

Taking their resources into account, the couple started researching what kinds of business that would be successful in Montana. The potential they found in becoming licensed to operate Lagree Fitness studios fit the bill. Lagree is a workout program that brings a new level to health and fitness workouts and to physical training. While its founder, Sebastian Lagree, based the program on pilates it has evolved far beyond pilates, into a distinctively unique fitness technique that automatically customizes to the abilities and needs of each person, young or old, men and women, alike. The company has licensed upward of 500 business locations around the world.

Utilizing a piece of equipment called the Megaformer, highly trained coaches oversee regularly scheduled classes of “High Intensity Low Impact Full Body Muscular Endurance Training.”

The key to the workouts is a focus on perfect form, slow movements and no momentum, emphasized Dan, who oversees the staffing, training and financial end of the business. Each 45 minute workout utilizing “spring based tension,” exercises the whole body and builds, as an individual’s own strength builds. While training is conducted in groups, it’s still personalized, which is what their stringent training of coaches emphasizes, unlike most other group training, said Dan.

The exercises build cardio, muscular, core, flexibility and strength, and it takes about three sessions before an individual starts to “get it” and to feel the improvements. Because of that, Dan is currently offering anyone who wants to try, to participate in the first three sessions at no charge. All they need to do is go to the Lagree MT website, add the “BLGS – Intro 3 Pack” to their cart and type in the Promo Code “SHILOH3”.

The exercises have no high impact on joints and is easily adaptable to a person’s limitations or strengths. It can be used for regaining strength after a surgery or training for “pro-day.” It can be used by people like his mother, said Dan, just as much as high tier athletes. “The workout gets harder as you get stronger.”

Dan guarantees that no matter what regime an athlete is undertaking, Lagree will advance it in ways that always surprises. In fact, he says, with a knowing smile, guys who think they are in great shape, often make the mistake of thinking that if women can do it, it will be easy for them.

Classes are typically held before and after work hours, and during the noon hour. They quickly filled classes in Missoula relying mostly upon word-of- mouth. Their business remained viable despite the COVID regulations that forced them to close for 80 days, and which has discouraged some people from returning to regular exercising routines. Classes are beginning to fill up in Billings, too.

The COVID crisis did pause Dan and Tina in their expansion efforts. They had planned to open their second location during the summer. Eventually, they expect to have several locations in Montana with Missoula and Billings being their “bookends”.

Dan said they were excited being able to open in Shiloh Commons. Tina, it turns out, is very creative with a hammer, saw and paint brush. She has designed and furnished Lagree MT with a sharp, clean Industrial Modern theme, punctuated with several pieces of furniture that she also built, often using recycled materials.

In addition to those talents, she also oversees marketing for the company and oversees their online presence and social media.

Lagree MT employs five people in Missoula on a contract basis and have added three more in Billings, with the likelihood of adding another two or three in the near future.

Yellowstone County and the City of Billings are exploring in earnest the possibility of consolidating local government offices in the Stillwater Building.

On Monday, County Commissioners asked County Finance Director Kevan Bryan to research the feasibility of the county purchasing a portion of the Stillwater Building, and to present commissioners a report on January 22. His research should also include other options that might serve the county’s future growth and space needs

Kevin Iffland, Assistant City Administrator, who heads a committee to do much the same for the city, said they remain interested in a proposal they received about a year and a half ago from WC Commercial the company that owns the Stillwater Building. The Stillwater Building is a five-story building at 316 N. 26th in downtown Billings, formerly known as the James F. Battin Building. Several departments of county government currently occupy part of the third floor under a lease with the company that owns the building WC Commercial headed by Joe Holden.

A few weeks ago, Holden sent a letter to the city and the county saying he wanted to sell the property and asking for $24 million.

The county and city will initiate the process of getting appraisals on the building. Iffland said that he is sending WC Commercial a letter this week announcing their interest and asking permission to conduct appraisals, which would probably not be completed until near the end of February at the earliest.

Commissioner John Ostlund initiated a conversation about the need to develop a plan for their future needs with other commissioners and department heads during a discussion meeting. He underscored the wisdom of making plans now for the future of what they know will eventually be a need for more space. Both the county attorney’s office and courts are working in crowded spaces, said Ostlund, and both will need more space as “felony cases have went off the charts. “We know at some point we will be booted out of the court house.”  Eventually, he said, he believes that the Courthouse will be a building dedicated to courts and the justice system.

Ostlund said that he thought that the county would be interested in no more than two floors and would probably want to “condo” them, but whether that is the case will be part of the feasibility study. He said that they will also be looking at the possibility of purchasing the Miller Building which is available for sale. It is where City/County Planning offices are housed and includes parking.

Iffland said that the city, too, is looking at other options but they aren’t “super looking”, just wanting to be aware of their options.

Ostlund said that the county plans to acquire whatever they need without having to ask for any tax increases. He said that the county had already set aside some capital funds for remodeling existing space or acquiring new that has not been used, and there are other capital reserves that can be pulled together which will most likely meet their financial needs.

The city would want the rest of the building that the county does not take, including basement and main floor and upper two floors. “We are in dire need of law  and justice center space, and secondly, other city offices. Planning and community development and public works are in leased buildings and we would like to consolidate.

While there are sure to be benefits and cost savings for the city and county to do the purchase jointly, the real beneficiaries, said Iffland, will be the citizens in having all local government offices located in one area.

The latest survey of their membership from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) indicate that they are, according to a recent release from Montana NFIB Director Ronda Wiggers. “This latest report shows that Main Street businesses are losing hope,” said Wiggers.

NFIB’s Small Business Economic Trends reports that in its monthly Optimism Index, nine of the 10 Optimism Index components declined and only one improved. Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months declined 24 points to a net negative 16%.

NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg said, “This month’s drop in small business optimism is historically very large, and most of the decline was due to the outlook of sales and business conditions in 2021. Small businesses are concerned about potential new economic policy in the new administration and the increased spread of COVID-19 that is causing renewed government-mandated business closures across the nation.”

The state director for Montana’s leading small-business association suggested that one thing the State Legislature could do to help ameliorate the grim news is pass legislation that will provide liability protections for small businesses. “The recently opened second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans will help, but states can do their part by alleviating the worries of higher taxes and more regulations, and, as Senate Bill 65 seeks to do in Montana, provide some liability protection from frivolous lawsuits,” said Wiggers.

An earlier survey of Montana NFIB members revealed that 96.8 percent of small business owners said protection from lawsuits due to COVID-19 should be a top legislative priority. NFIB regularly surveys membership regarding policies and business trends. The organization is unique among business organizations in that only business owners are allowed to determine policies and respond to surveys.

Wiggers explained they are concerned about frivolous lawsuits putting more businesses out of business. It doesn’t matter if a business prevails in any court proceedings, just the legal costs of the process and the distraction away from managing their business  is enough, to put out of business, businesses already weakened by COVID restrictions. “It isn’t about winning or losing, you can’t afford a retainer fee to get an attorney,” she said.

Wiggers noted that in that earlier survey one out of four businesses said they would not make it for six more months if the COVID shutdowns continued.

Given the second round of PPP loans being made available by Congress, “We are expecting about half of businesses will take advantage of PPP loans. Montana businesses and lenders participated pretty heavily in the first round.”

Wiggers said that during the state legislature she will primarily be monitoring the bills in a “defensive mode” – opposing those that appear harmful to Montana business. She will be tracking about 200 bills.

In following NFIB membership-set policy they  hope to see the business equipment tax reduced or totally eliminated. They will oppose any family-leave legislation, the addition of more regulations on businesses, and hope to see some beneficial tax changes.

Wiggers said that 71.9 percent of NFIB members in their surveys have said they oppose local option taxes.

The NFIB Research Center has collected Small Business Economic Trends data with quarterly surveys since the 4th quarter of 1973 and monthly surveys since 1986. Survey respondents are drawn from a random sample of NFIB’s membership. The report is released on the second Tuesday of each month. This survey was conducted in December 2020. For more information about NFIB, please visit NFIB.com.

The SBET’s primary value is anticipating short-run fluctuations in economic activity. An additional value of the SBET is its measurement of small business activities and concerns over time. The benefit of a longitudinal data set offers an invaluable perspective on how policies and business cycles impact small businesses over time.  The SBET is one of the few archival data sets on small business, particularly when research questions address business operations rather than opinions. Today, it’s the largest, longest-running data set on small business economic conditions available.

By Evelyn Pyburn

Construction of the bridge across the Yellowstone River, as part of the Billings Bypass, has begun. Workers and heavy equipment are coming and going across a temporary work bridge, as they install the pilings that will support what will be a bridge large enough to eventually accommodate a 4-lane road and a ten-foot mixed use path, which will be part of a system to connect the Heights and Johnson Lane in Lockwood.

“They are driving the bridge pilings in the winter when the river is the lowest,” explained Lisa Olmsted, the Public Involvement Manager for DOWL, the engineering firm on the project. The work will continue throughout the winter. With the pilings in place, “they will be ready to hit the ground running in the spring,” said Olmsted, explaining that the contractor, Wadsworth Brothers Construction, plan to predominantly complete the bridge project in 2021. Though the roadway will be built as two-lane, the  bridge is being built with four lanes to accommodate future growth.

The Yellowstone River Bridge project segment is the second portion of the six-phase project and is anticipated to cost $30.1 million. The construction of Five Mile Road, the first phase, was completed this past summer. The third phase, construction of the Johnson Lane Interchange will begin in 2021, which will be of a diverging diamond interchange design, the first of its kind in Montana, though they’ve been well-received in other states.

Building a new bridge across the Yellowstone River is a rather rare event. It’s been about a hundred years since a new bridge was built across the Yellowstone, although there have been quite a few bridges rebuilt, according to Rod Nelson, Montana Department of Transportation Billings District Administrator.

According to Nelson, during the time in which he served as construction project manager for the district, (1990 to 2003), “We replaced four different bridges over the Yellowstone.  One at Pompeys Pillar, one south of Laurel, one at Reed Point, and the east bridge in Billings.  All of these bridges were previously old steel truss bridges that were originally built around the turn of the century (late 1800s to early 1900s).”

The I-90 bridges that cross the Yellowstone River near Lockwood are the next bridges scheduled to be rebuilt, with a tentative construction date of next year, said Nelson.

Construction of the Bypass bridge is being done in close coordination with Yellowstone River Parks Association (YRPA) which manages John H. Dover Memorial Park, through which the Bypass must be constructed. Olmsted said that the Bypass will build a tunnel to access between the north and south sides of Dover Park and access from the mixed use path on the bridge to the park trail system which will open up access to the park. She said that YRPA officials are excited about the potential that the project holds for the future of Dover Park.

The other phases of the Bypass include two sections between the bridge and the Johnson Lane Interchange which will include an overpass of Coulson Road and the railroad tracks, and the last phase will be the construction of a two-lane road that will parallel Mary Street, connecting the bridge to Main Street in the Heights. The Bypass is expected to be completed by 2025, but the schedule is dependent throughout the process on funding availability and construction schedules.

Despite the project name this is not a bypass, reminds Olmsted. The new street will be an urban arterial similar to Rimrock Road. The new roadway will have a different name .

A webcam showing progress on the bridge and additional project information are available on the website: https:// www.mdt.mt.gov/ pubinvolve/billingsbypass.