The Wild Women of the West and other groups will begin an effort this week to convert a small, grassy downtown lot into a pocket park. A pocket park is, as the name suggests, a small public space. It will likely include some shade, greenery, a place to rest and some artwork, according to a press release from the Billings Depot. They also will be working on a plan to attract volunteers, gardeners and artists to work on the park. The project already has been helped by CTA Architects Engineers, which provided some initial evaluation and illustration work.
Also on board is Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming, the press release stated. “The girls are excited to work with the Wild Women of the West, master gardeners and land planners to learn about beautification of city spaces and the importance of rain gardens for reducing flooding and protecting our groundwater from pollution,” said Bailee Vaughn, Girl Scouts volunteer support manager.
The location is east of the Billings Depot and the city’s public works offices next door, a grassy spot alongside North 21st Street and Montana Avenue. The land is owned by Montana Rail Link, which approved the project, Williams said. The major feature of the pocket park, as planned, is the rain garden. The grassy area is already a point of drainage, Williams said. Creating a rain garden means adding native plants and soils to the drainage, which soak up runoff to support a green space and also filter the water. “It’s really cool the level of plant life that goes into developing this rain garden,” Williams said.
The project got startup funding in April through a $2,500 grant from Big Sky Economic Development. Williams said they are hoping to put out a call to artists soon for installations at the space.