About BIRD

Billings Industrial Revitalization District

who is the BIRD?

The Billings Industrial Revitalization District is a 501(c)6 organization that is contracted with the City of Billings to manage the East Billings Urban Renewal District (EBURD) Tax Increment Finance process. It is lead by a local board of directors representing the businesses, property owners in the BIRD.

Dream with us

EBURD Master Plan

The EBURD is guided by the East Billings Urban Renewal plan. An overarching document that guides future development in the EBURD. Among other things, the plan laid the foundation for categorizing the area as “blight”, set the boundaries for a Tax Increment Finance, TIF, district, and called for the development of a more detailed development plan, design standards, and an implementation strategy. 


Download and read the plan that the BIRD still follows today.



Sam Westerman

Board President

Keith Robinson

Vice President

Lucy Aspinwall


Melissa Zimmermann


Matthew Mcdonnell

President Emeritus

Ken kunkel

Board Member

Executive Director

Michelle Harkins

Michelle came to the BIRD to help the EBURD through the revitalization process. She has truly fallen in love with the industrial vibe, the master plan, and all the upcoming ideas the community has planned for this area. 

People in the community know her as someone who is passionate, hardworking, and calm under pressure. Her favorite challenge is finding a solution to issues as they arise; she is an animated problem solver. She loves the thought of bringing things together and being a part of something from start to finish. 

Marketing & Community Manager

Heather Dotty

Baylie is a recent college graduate with a passion for marketing and community outreach. Shortly after meeting Michelle and hearing of the direction for the EBURD, Baylie has become eager to see it through and excited to bring the community and the BIRD together.

While going through her courses, she fell in love with the power marketing has to impact communities, individuals, and their businesses. Baylie knew she wanted to facilitate that kind of support in her lifelong community of Billings, MT. 

local support

Community partnerships

The Historic BIRD

Taken circa 1895, this photo is looking at the rims towards the east. The rightmost group of teepees is where North Park is today.

Crow Encampment in North Park, circa 1895

This picture was taken Memorial Day 1913 during take off of the first flight in the state of Montana. Dr. Bell was a local dentist here in Billings and the first Montana resident to earn his pilot's license. Take off was in North Park with a final destination of Park City.

Dr. Bell Flight, 1913

This baseball field was home to many amateur baseball teams across Montana. The field is in what is now North Park and even had a grandstand for spectators. City teams, teams of immigrants, and even occupational teams, like one from the sugar beet factory, would all gather to play here.

Amateur Baseball, circa 1910

This structure was originally meant to be the Montana state prison, but it was actually purchased to be a residential home. The wife of the new owner did not want to live in it, so it was going to become a country club but it unfortunately burned down before that could come to fruition. It was located just northeast of North Park.

Prison penitentiary, 1920's

The trail at the bottom of this photo is Black Otter Trail, and if you took the road East, to the left, just outside the photo you would see Boothill Cemetery. North Park would be to the West, right of the photo, and the EBURD is what you see in the middle.

Black Otter Aerial, 1930's

Photos courtesy of Western Heritage Center.


How the bird begAn

In 2007, property owners in the the district formed the Billings Industrial Revitalization District (BIRD, Inc.). With the support of those owners, Big Sky Economic Development Authority and the City of Billings established the East Billings Urban Renewal District, and a Tax Increment Finance District was created. 

EBURD’s goal was retaining vital businesses and industrial land uses while attracting reinvestment through revitalization efforts. The EBURD was intended to proactively address economic stagnation issues as well as implement the Framework Plan, which identified the area as the “East Transitional Zone” and a logical area for the expansion and continued revival of Downtown Billings.