What to Do With the Big Bear Building in Billings (OPINION)
I saw an article in the Gazette that was talking about three new businesses that would be moving into the building that once was the home of Big Bear Sporting Goods.
Paul and I tried to help get Big Bear reopened with a big event involving law enforcement, food trucks, and assorted civic organizations. We were going to have a big spectacle on a Saturday and draw shoppers in. But upon talking to the owners, we learned that insurance (along with a few other issues) would prevent them from ever reopening.
Petco is one of the shops opening up. I don't understand why they would put up shop so close to PetSmart, but it's not my money. HomeGoods would appear to have competition close by as well.
I was thinking about what we need that could use the existing outer structure, and some of you are thinking 'Cheesecake Factory!" Or T.G.I.Fridays. Or some other national chain. Folks, we need another jail.
Now, realizing that businesses close by would freak out, a jail would serve a couple of purposes. One, our county jail is currently full, so, unless you commit one of the bigger crimes, you get arrested and then released. Criminals know this. A full jail along with a plentiful drug supply is why violent crime is a record levels in our town.
The second purpose would be an additional law enforcement presence on our west end. More BPD, YCSO, and MHP cars in the parking lot would make citizens out there comfortable. I realize that this would never happen in a million years, but it would be a good use of that building.
It's too bad that I'm not crazy rich. I'd buy the Big Bear building. I'd bulldoze it. Then, I would have Montana's first Top Golf location.