The Billings City Council voted Monday night to create a special improvement district to fund work on Moore Lane.
In a 7-2 vote, the council approved making improvements that would rebuild the road and install sidewalks, curbs, a turning lane, sewer improvements and storm drains.
In the two dissenting votes, Vince Ruegamer moved to delay voting on the project for two weeks, with Rich McFadden joining for support.
Moore Lane is a potholed road that serves small businesses between Central Avenue and Monad Road.
The project is expected to cost $1.7 million, with the city contributing $425,000.
Before the council’s vote, seven Moore Lane property owners spoke in turn to the council, agreeing that the road needed improvements but asking that the city find a cheaper way to do it.
“I think that the cost ... is asking a lot of property owners,” said Don Mueller.
Like the others, Mueller questioned the need of sidewalks and a turning lane for Moore Lane.
Max Griffin, who owns property on the corner of Central and Moore and will be included in the SID, pleaded with the council to make the improvements.
“There’s some momentum there,” he said of the business growth in the area.
Improvements to Moore Lane will only help capitalize on that, he said.
Also at the meeting, the council voted unanimously to sell two blocks of city street to ConocoPhillips.
The company filed a petition with the city to purchase South 23rd Street between Third and Fourth avenues south and Fourth Avenue South between South 23rd and 24th streets.
The 54,380-square-foot area is L-shaped and is surrounded by ConocoPhillips property.
After appraising the land, the company offered the city $2.50 a square foot for a total of $135,950.
“I do think it’s a worthy thing to have that area technically closed,” said Councilwoman Peggie Gaghen. “It’s worth the money.”
The $135,950 will go to the city’s public works fund to used for road repairs.
After one question regarding the refinery’s plans with the property, Public Works Director David Mumford announced that Conoco had no plans to close the streets.