Despite the results of this year’s bond election, progress toward better Billings Parks continues. You can help, and your dog will thank you. In front of Council tonight is an update to the Master Plan for North Park, detailing the potential addition of a dog park and frisbee golf course, both of which are welcome improvements. Both will increase the activation of the space, bringing more “eyes to the streets,” and providing increased safety for residents.

Over the summer, the Billings Chamber was doing some CPTED work in North Park and saw the incredible difference made within two weeks due to lighting enhancements around the community center. It went from dark and ominous to lighted and approachable. Granted, that’s a single section of the park. Other areas remained dark and secluded, where undetected people gave us a spook once we were upon them. 

The new proposal calls for a dog park in the northwest corner of the park with a frisbee golf course in the northeast. The dog park is estimated to be about one acre in area and include benches, trees, water fountains, and double-gated systems. The disc golf course will feature six holes with tee boxes and baskets and be considered a family/beginner course. See the layout diagrams below.

Tonight’s presentation includes the funding mix already lined up to help pay for the improvements. These include:

  • Partners for Parks Foundation events
  • Mayor’s Match funds
  • Renaissance Fair proceeds
  • Parks Department Matching Grant
(Dog Park Funding Estimates)
(Disc Golf Funding Estimates)

But there is more funding needed to bring these projects to completion. If you were one of the Billings residents disappointed in the bond vote, here is an opportunity for you to get involved and help build a better park system. The BIRD is looking for additional sponsors to help close the funding gap on these projects. The Partners for Parks Foundation will hold all donations, which are deductible for tax purposes.  


For those who didn’t know (me), Billings has a Disc Golf Billings club that utilizes our existing disc golf courses at Phipps, High Sierra, and Pioneer Parks. Adding another course to the mix would tally four total courses, and set us well above many U.S. cities in terms of the number of disc golf courses they offer.

The proposal for a beginner/family disc golf course at North Park would provide a less intimidating first step in the sport, considering we’ve got some pretty rugged disc golf courses that utilize our unique Billings terrain. Check out the Disc Golf Billings video below to see how cool our courses are. Seriously, who else has disc golf courses like we do?!

Disc Golf Billings also hosts a Glow League after dark event, lighting up the course and bringing people to the park space which provides natural surveillance and added safety after hours in Billings.

(photo credit: Disc Golf Billings Facebook page)


Well designed and activated parks are so important to preventing crime, they have an entire chapter in the National Institute of Crime Prevention’s Advanced CPTED training. And Police Chief St. John points out, “When more people gather in parks, it increases community surveillance and deters criminals from targeting park neighborhoods.”

Additionally, research into “appointment robbery,” which entails a criminal consciously selecting where they will attempt to commit a crime, indicates criminals are very sensitive to CPTED principles like natural surveillance and territorial reinforcement, indicated by the sentiments shared by two criminals:

  • “I would hella not pick a place that is crowded and I would not pick a place is has a lot of people coming and going.”
  • “If they ask me to meet up in an area that had like those special signs on top of their street signs or if I saw signs that said sum s*** like, ‘Now entering some neighborhood’, then I would feel like, uncomfortable and cancel that s***.“

We rarely think of nice signage as crime prevention, but criminals are paying attention to CPTED signals. And although nice signs and activated places won’t deter all crime, we have evidence that they do prevent some crime. For us, any crime deterrence is a win for Billings.

The Billings Chamber supports the plan to add a dog park and disc golf to North Park and wrote a letter of support for the BIRD’s grant application to the Parks and Recreation Board. 


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