Wouldn't it be cool if Billings had a true outdoor "walking mall"?  I know,  I know.. they say Shiloh Crossing is an outdoor mall.  But it isn't really... walking from Candy Town to Scheels is a bit of a jaunt and honestly not very walking friendly.  I'm talking about places like Pearl Street in Boulder, CO.  Or the downtown portion of Seattle.  Or the pedestrian mall by Coors Field in Denver. Heck, even Helena has a cool spot in the Last Chance Gulch neighborhood.

The picture in this blog came from a recent trip to Salt Lake City. Where, in the heart of the old, historic downtown area, there are like 4 city blocks filled with local shops, restaurants and big, chain retailers. Even a Disney store! There is a stream that runs thru a portion of the area, as well as lots of cool little open spots with trees, tables and benches, waterfalls, sculptures and what-not. While technically not totally closed to traffic, for the most part it is pedestrian only. It truly is enjoyable to shop and spend time there.  Coming from a guy who doesn't enjoy shopping.

I know there are big talks of Big Sky One development. Whether or not this ever happens, remains up in the air. I think a more attainable idea would be to close off Broadway downtown from the Crystal Lounge, past the Brew Pub and up the next block north of Skypoint. This portion of street is closed so much for special events anyway (Harvest Fest, Alive After 5's, Farmers Market, etc), why not just make it permanent? I really think it would make downtown Billings a more attractive destination. Your thoughts?

Next time,


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