Former McFiny’s gas station a former contaminated site in Billings; cleanup required

Posted at 3:11 PM, May 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-09 17:50:57-04

BILLINGS- For years McFiny’s operated a small convenience store on the corner of Fifth Street and Grand Avenue. Until last month.

The location was especially appealing for nearby neighbors and high school students across the street at Senior High School.

Those nearby businesses across from McFiny’s were shocked to see the store fenced off and shuttered.

“Any other business that comes in, it’s just more traffic, more business traffic for the whole surrounding area,” said Don Trudell.

Co-owner of the McFiny’s stores Bev Mundschenk said they’ll likely just focus now on their other two locations on 17th Street West and Rimrock Road.

“It makes a dent,” she said.”But it won’t affect our other two locations.”

She said the owner of the land, Chuck Rutherford of Wag Tag LLC, wanted to raise the rent and take the fuel tanks out.

But in doing so, an extensive clean up must happen. Tyrel Schroth with Marketing Specialities, the company contracted to do the removal, says the area was an old contaminated site from years of use.

“They have to be removed,” he told MTN News Wednesday at the construction site. The tanks will be hauled off for recycling, he said.

The area must also be tested to ensure no further cleanup must take place. Schroth said the EPA is not involved.

Crews started last Friday ripping up pavement and digging out the gas tanks.

Although the Grand Avenue location was not their busiest, Mundschenk said it does sting to lose out on the high school rush.

Trudell along with other businesses in the adjoining area said they’re hoping something great will take its place.

“I’m kind of hoping for a fancy restaurant myself,” he said.

As for the future of another third McFiny’s in Billings, Mundschenk said that’s likely not going to happen. She referenced competition from other major convenience stores in Montana taking up many busy corners.

“Ten years in business,” said Mundschenk.

Reporting by Andrea Lutz for MTN News