It can be hard to describe or quantify what makes Billings, with its vast and varied interests, so great.
That’s why, in June of 2015, my co-host Dianne Parker and I were excited to help Community 7 Television launch a new television program that explores several of the Magic City’s unique characteristics.
Our program is called “City Streets, Country Roads” and it takes a look at the reasons people live, visit and work in Yellowstone County. Each month, we put together a 30-minute program that examines one of six key industries in Billings: business/retail, oil and gas, hospitals, tourism, nonprofits, and arts and culture.
The show attempts to connect deep rural roots in the Yellowstone Valley with vibrant life in Montana’s urban hub, Billings. A couple of months ago, we decided “City Streets, Country Roads” would focus on downtown living.
Downtown Billings has worked hard over the last couple of decades to make it a destination for work and play. It has a variety of great restaurants, an easily walkable brewery district, several coffee houses, a summer concert series, a movie theater and a lively arts scene.
It has always been a destination for workers in the office buildings at the core of the city. And if you’re working and playing in that part of town, why wouldn’t you want to live there as well?
The show opens with an interview with Randy Hafer, the principal architect at High Plains Architects. Randy has long been involved with renovating buildings in the downtown, often turning them into chic living spaces.
He also has been mulling over his dream home for the past several decades. Within the last couple of years, he and his wife and business partner, Janna Hafer, have been turning that dream into a reality. On the show, Randy visits with us about his “Urban Frontier House,” a house built with no connections to the standard city grid.
Next we hear from Lindsey Hafer, who happens to be Randy’s daughter, about her experiences living downtown. Lindsey grew up in Billings and moved away for a time to the big city. When she moved back to Billings, she wanted to be downtown. She provides us with insight into what she enjoys about living there and what she thinks about the neighborhood as a place to live.
Finally, we hear from Ed Kemmick, the founder of Last Best News, about his own experiences as a resident of the downtown. He and his wife, Lisa, had been thinking of moving downtown for years, and three years ago they took the plunge. By coincidence, they ended up renting an apartment in the building that was Hafer’s first downtown living project.
You can watch that episode by clicking here.
New episodes of “City Streets, Country Roads” are aired on the second Sunday of each month at 1:30 and 7 p.m. on the Community 7 Television. The episodes will also appear online at the Community 7 Facebook Page as well as on their website by clicking on the Vimeo button.
Community 7 Television is grateful to have Avitus Group as a community partner. A preview of each month’s program is available via Community 7 Television’s exclusive radio media partner, News Talk 730 AM. Host Scott Fredricks broadcasts a live preview segment the second Wednesday of each month at 7:35 a.m.
Shoots Veis is a native Montanan, an engineer and actor by accident, passionate about football and politics, blessed with a fabulous family and a world traveler. He works in, for, around, cooperatively and with governments, with a particular affinity for Montana, local government and international affairs, including a five-year term on the Billings City Council. On Friday nights he finds stress relief officiating high school football and acting at Billings Studio Theatre.