Football pitch in Amend Park to get artificial turf, lighting and bleachers | Local News

One of the football pitches in the southwest corner of Amend Park will feature artificial turf, LED lighting and bleachers for 500, a move that will allow the park to host games after dark at night and in winter.

Billings City Council voted unanimously to approve the project, which will be funded by the South Billings Urban Renewal Association’s Tax Increase Funding District.

Members of the Amend Park board and the town’s football clubs were eager to get the project approved. By proceeding with the project now, the city can use a provision known as a state contract purchase to join the state in an agreement already reached between the turf seller and Montana.

“Purchasing by State Contract allows the City to use a pre-negotiated price between the vendor and the State Purchasing Department to construct this project, eliminating the requirement to issue tenders. offers,” according to city staff.

The state contract with the seller expires on September 16.

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The total cost of the project is $1.5 million and field work will begin this week. Organizers hope it will be finished by March 31, in time for the start of the spring soccer season.

As part of the cost, the park board has created a fund that will save them money for upkeep and maintenance, eliminating the need to seek additional funds from the city in the future.

Proponents of the project spoke at Monday night’s council meeting, outlining how a pitch with artificial turf, bleachers and lights will extend the playing season and make Billings an attractive destination for football tournaments.

Council members also updated the city’s annual assessments for maintenance districts and the public safety tax passed a decade ago. The city’s assessed value increased by 4.3%.

This increase, combined with Billings’ population growth, broadens the city’s tax base, which in some cases slightly decreases district maintenance costs for some residents. Those who live in Park District 1, for example, will pay $26 a year in 2020 in park fees if they own a $200,000 home. The amount in 2019 was $27.