If it wasn’t enough for the Great Falls Public School District to deforest the Great Falls High School original campus by cutting down 80 mature and environmentally beneficial city trees without a permit, now they want to do the same thing to a neighborhood icon, Kranz Park.

Donated to the City of Great Falls by the Kranz family in the first part of the last century, Kranz Park offers a shady respite for the residents of an older part of town. That apparently doesn’t mean a damn thing to the Great Falls Park and Recreation Department and its newly imported director, Steve Herrig.

You should be aware that asphalt parking lots act like heat sinks and can easily raise temperatures in the surrounding area, which just might add to your air conditioning bill.

Tomorrow’s city commission meeting will hold a public hearing on the trade of nearly one half of Kranz Park for 10 acres of school district owned swamp land on 57th Street.

At this point, the city doesn’t remotely need the swamp land since they have abandoned the lame idea of developing an indoor recreation and aquatics facility on the property adjacent to MAFB. And obtaining the swamp land would mean that the city would have to maintain the property at least to a minimum degree.

But heck, the taxpayers wont mind spending more of their hard-earned dollars for Herrig’s Folly to help the cash strapped school district because they couldn’t solve the parking problem at Great Falls High after spending $37M of taxpayer’s dollars.

The trade will require a 4/5’s vote of the city commission because vacating a city park is a big deal.

Dale Kranz, recently deceased, reported to the author just a few years ago when the issue first presented, that he was steadfastly opposed to turning any part of his family’s namesake park into a parking lot.

As I mentioned in a previous article, Great Falls has 57 parks, while Billings at twice our size has 47. We don’t need another 10-acre swamp park, unless there is some interpretive value in describing the geological history of Lake Great Falls.

Contact your city commissioners via email – commission@greatfallsmt.net – or phone and provide them with a little guidance on this matter. If you don’t, you will be the ones ultimately paying for this ill-advised trade.

Lions Park Indoor Recreation & Aquatics Facility

As I suggested in a previous article, by all measure the new Indoor Recreation and Aquatics Facility should be developed at Lions Park.

Lions Park is centrally located, has suitable soils conditions, affords access to hotels and restaurants, is a six-minute drive from MAFB and is of sufficient size while still leaving ample buffers for the adjacent neighboring single-family homes.

The two sites previously considered, the much too small site at 10th Avenue North and 57th Street and the Siebel Soccer Field, had more cons than pros, as I pointed out in Forget The Carrot, Keep Your Eye On The Ball.

In my opinion, the site selection process has been flawed from the beginning and the only way to move forward on the project is to reevaluate the program and seek a more creative design approach that responds to a particular appropriate site.

Lions Park is located in a transitional zone between residential and commercial land uses and the architectural design for the facility should reflect, and reinforce that transitional zone.

A project at Lions Park should respect and enhance the existing environment of the park and not simply be of a transportable design that was developed in haste for a different site, or sites.

It is time to strongly consider the previous consultant selection process and solicit contextual design solutions that can benefit our community. And yes, community members should be represented in a new selection process, not just city employees.

Forget The Carrot, Keep Your Eye On The Ball

If you are asking why the site selection for the new proposed Indoor Recreation and Aquatics Facility looks like a train wreck waiting to happen, you are not alone.

If you have been a resident of Great Falls for even a few years, you probably are aware of the soils issues on the east end of town. With their eye on the carrot, the $10M grant from the Department of Defense, the City took its collective eye off of the ball and salivated at the prospect of a big federal grant which would pay one half of the cost to develop a long- acknowledged need in our community.

The City failed to do even a modest amount of due diligence when they attempted to submit a successful pre application for the potential grant, thinking that siting their proposal very close to Malmstrom AFB would enhance their chances of consideration in a field of many applicants.

The first site selected was recognized as soils challenged and too small. That didn’t matter, and they proceeded.

After the City’s application made the short list, they learned that a 10 acre parcel located on the west side of 57th Street and adjacent to the Siebel Soccer Fields and owned by the school district could be available by trading a portion of Kranz Park.

After spending $37M dollars at Great Falls High School, the school district wasn’t able to solve the 60 year old problem of a parking shortage. They even bought the Campfire Girls property for $100K, only to learn that parking for 11 cars wouldn’t solve the problem.

They cut down 80 mature trees and destroyed the historic campus by tearing up lawns for more parking.

At this point, you might ask how our community leaders can be so stupid and wasteful with taxpayer dollars. It’s simple, it’s not their money, it’s yours. That, and a lack of real planning.

Of course, the City learned that the soils on the west side of 57th Street was pretty much the same as on the east side of 57th Street and later learned it would cost an additional $2.6M in construction costs.

During the City’s Request for Proposals (RFP) from architectural firms in September, Faccenda Architects, recognizing the problematic soils on the 10 acre referenced site, requested the City’s contact at the OEA for the Federal grant in order to provide some clarification on the siting issue. The following is the Park and Recreation director’s response:

Sept 17, 2020 email.

Mr. Faccenda:

Thank you for your inquiry during our conversation last week. In summary, it is my understanding that you want to talk to the City’s Office of Economic Adjustment liaison regarding the City’s preferred location for the new Recreation/Aquatics Facility. The purpose of the call, presumably, is to argue against locating the facility on Great Falls School District property south of the City’s Siebel Soccer Complex.”

I would hope Mr. Herrig would agree that “Advise” would have been a better choice of words than “Argue”.

After this exchange, our firm decided that an RFP proposal would be disingenuous when we concluded that the adherence to the City’s site choice would only result in scaling back the program in order to work within the established budget.

Lions Park

We have since advocated for the Lions Park site which is a mere 6 to 7 minute drive from MAFB.

Faced with an unwise trade with the school district, at the December 15th City Commission meeting as reported by The Electric news blog, Mr. Herrig said “that regardless of the DOD grant, he’d like to pursue that property and talked with Neighborhood Council 4 last year about a park in that area that “would enhance that quality of life for the folks out in that area.”

Another 10 acre park to be maintained by the taxpayers?

It could be time to start a new consultant selection process with a new site and program that meets the needs of our community.

Tell us what you think.

And let your Great Falls City Commission know what you think by emailing them at commission@greatfallsmt.net

Pulling The Plug

It may be time to pull the plug on the new Great Falls aquatics and recreation center.

At the December 1 Great Falls City Commission meeting, City Manager Greg Doyon gave an update on the design progress of the proposed facility. Mr. Doyon emphasized that fiscal sustainability and addressing the well-known soils deficiencies of the chosen site were top priorities.

He went on to report that architectural and engineering work is moving at a breakneck pace because of the accelerated timeline to complete the work.

According to Mr. Doyon, the selected design team of architects and geotechnical engineers advised that construction costs for the structure’s foundation on the highly undesirable soils at the proposed site would be $2.6M, or, about $95 per square foot.

The depth to suitable bearing is 60 feet. It is helpful to understand the magnitude of the contributing loads for an aquatic facility. A 50 meter swimming pool 25 meters wide with a minimum depth of 2 meters holds 660,430 gallons of water at 8.3lbs per gallon.

That means the pool water alone weighs almost 5.5 million lbs. Not something you want to construct on poor soils.

The City Manager went on to say that newly estimated higher cost of $2.6M could reduce the programmed spaces in the proposed facility that the community is expecting and the projected revenues needed to make the center sustainable.

At this point, the only two ways forward would be:

  1. An alternate site with more desirable soils conditions for the facility, or securing more funding from the DOD in addition to the original grant for $10M.
  2. Securing additional funding.

It is important to note that the $10M from the City Park Fund, and the $10M from the DOD grant are both taxpayer dollars.

I believe the best strategy moving forward would be to choose another city-owned site for the project and let the DOD chips fall where they may.

A cursory examination of the U.S. Geological Survey, 1965, “Depth-to-Bedrock Map”, indicates two city-owned properties of sufficient size and soils conditions that should be considered.

One is the unimproved portion of Warden Park west of the school district administration building, and the other is Lion’s Park with frontage on 10th avenue south.

Both sites have convenient access to hotels, restaurants, a major arterial to and from the base, and yes, financial partnership opportunities.

Studies of similar facilities list regional swim meets as the top on-going revenue generator. Swim meets also brings money into the city and that benefits a number of local businesses.

That’s why we should keep a 50 meter pool in the program. We should not forget the Four Seasons vs the Metra competition that has held Great Falls back for years.

Most people who have followed the Indoor Recreation and Aquatics Facility process are left scratching their heads and saying, “How did this thing get so screwed up?”

Well, here are some possible answers:

  • When the original site, 10th Avenue North and 57th Street was deemed too small to accommodate the program, the City traded a portion of Kranz Park to the school district for 10 acres adjacent to the soccer fields.
  • Before effecting the trade, a soils investigation was not done.
  • The A&E firm selected for the $20M project is the same firm that completed the DOD grant pre-application.
  • The selection committee did not include any members from the public.

It would seem that the City now owns a 10 acre site suited for mud puppies and tadpoles.

If we can’t do this project right, then it might be time to call a mulligan and pull the plug before it ends up like the Electric City Power fiasco.

I’d like to know what our readers think.

Swimming Pool Closures


E-City Beat received the following hand written letter yesterday which has been edited for clarity.

Kids high and dry

“The Care of Human Life and Happiness, and not their destruction is the only legitimate object of good government.” — Thomas Jefferson.

Our Great Falls neighborhood swimming pools, Jaycee and Water Tower, were closed for the season on Sunday, August 3 by the City after being open for only five weeks this summer. The new Great Falls Park and Recreation director, Steve Herrig who came here from Kansas a year ago, said his reason for closing the pools was – “a lifeguard shortage”. Really?

Our public pools were built over 50 years ago by the taxpayers of our community for people of all ages and have usually been open for 12 weeks in the Summer. This year pools were open for a little more than a month.

The City of Great Falls and the Park and Recreation Director have a commitment to maintain and should keep our pools open all summer. Running out of lifeguards is not an excuse for failing to uphold this commitment.

Here’s what needs to be done: first, start the recruiting process by or at Christmas break, not one month before summer. Then, pay more that $10 an hour. Finally, the City needs to pay for lifeguard candidate’s certification, as it has in the past. The opportunity to serve as lifeguards should be open to all qualified people, not just college students.

Since the voters recently approved a 1.5 million dollar bond for our parks, the same old excuse that the funds aren’t there to keep our pools open and pay lifeguards enough to get more candidates, just doesn’t play well.

Strangely, the Water Tower pool was available for two private pool parties after the closure to the public. Are you kidding me? The City can open the pool and staff it for private parties, but not for the children in our community?

To top it off, the new Park and Rec director took a summer vacation and left the children of Great Falls high and dry.

If you are as upset as I am you should call Steve Herrig and voice your opinion at 406-791-8980.

Let’s get our swimming pools open for all of us!

C.A.B. – Former Great Falls City pools lifeguard, Resident and Taxpayer for 50 years.



Sleight Of Hand?: Something Stinks In Great Falls Park District Number 1

As I have chatted with folks around Great Falls over the past two weeks since the May 8th mail-in school district levy and Park District 1 election, folks have expressed some surprise that the school levy failed while the Park District proposal passed. I’ve wondered the same thing myself because the school levy was a much smaller tax increase proposal, $1.49 million, than the Park District proposal, $1.5 million annually for the first three years up to approximately $12.6 million over 20 years.

Now it seems likely that one of the main reasons that happened is because a lot of voters may not have been aware that the creation of Park District 1 carries with it a significant tax increase for property owners.

Why wouldn’t voters be aware of that important piece of information? Because it wasn’t included on the ballot as required by Montana law as I and many others read it.

The ballot language for the school district tax increase included the required information –  total amount ($1,349,047.67), total mill 9.84 mills, and annual cost of the tax increase per home market value ($100,00 = $13.28 and $200,00 = $26.57)

In contrast here is the exact ballot language, on the same ballot, for the creation of the Park District.

“Great Falls Park District Number 1

Shall the proposition to organize Great Falls Park District Number 1 be adopted?

(By voting yes, you support creation of Great Falls Park District Number 1 for the purpose of providing certain maintenance, purchasing and improvement services for City-owned facilities, land, and equipment under the responsibility and care of the City of Great Falls Park and Recreation Department and providing for other matters properly relating thereto.)”

That’s it. Not one word about how much it’s going to cost you, or even that it’s going to cost you, if you vote “Yes”.

Montana Code Annotated states very clearly that “…The form of the ballot must reflect the content of the resolution or charter amendment and must include a statement of the impact of the election on a home valued at $100,000 and a home valued at $200,000 in the district in terms of actual dollars in additional property taxes that would be imposed on residences with those values if the mill levy were to pass. The ballot may also include a statement of the impact of the election on homes of any other value in the district, if appropriate.”  –http://leg.mt.gov/bills/mca/title_0150/chapter_0100/part_0040/section_0250/0150-0100-0040-0250.html

It’s possible that a lawyer could argue what the meaning of the word “is” is and claim that the above MCA language only pertains to levies, technically, not to special district assessments but that seems a stretch to me since the resolution proposing Park District 1 includes the fiscal impact: “…the estimated 2018 assessment for a property with a 2017 Market Value of $100,000 would be $22.92 per year.”

But a simple, common sense reading of other applicable MCA language seems to close the door on any “assessment vs levy” loophole.

See http://leg.mt.gov/bills/mca/title_0070/chapter_0110/part_0100/section_0110/0070-0110-0100-0110.html – “(3)The election must be conducted in accordance with Title 13, chapter 1, part 5” …and http://leg.mt.gov/bills/mca/title_0130/chapter_0010/part_0050/section_0050/0130-0010-0050-0050.html(5) Unless otherwise specified by law, conduct of the election, voter registration, and how votes must be cast, counted, and canvassed for a special purpose election must be conducted in accordance with the applicable provisions of this title.

Then there’s this from the City Park & Rec website: “The cost of the proposed improvements for the district is $1.5 million annually for the first three years; …the assessment method will be based on taxable value;  The amount of the assessment can be adjusted annually and must be set by resolution and adopted by the City Commission.” (That last sentence ought to scare the poop out every Great Falls citizen.)

Here’s my question: Was the Park District 1 fiscal impact language intentionally left off the ballot in an effort to deceive voters, making it more likely they would vote “Yes”?

“Here’s my question: Was the Park District 1 fiscal impact language intentionally left off the ballot in an effort to deceive voters, making it more likely they would vote ‘yes’?”

Who’s watching out for us, the taxpayers who pay ALL the bills? Certainly not our do-nothing, failed city commissioners and mayor who should have been on top of this to make certain that the ballot language was “the whole truth”.

I have just recently learned that a local citizen has written a letter referring this issue to the Cascade County Attorney and was told that “it would take some time for them to respond”. I will keep readers informed on the progress of this development.

In the meantime we should all be writing letters and making our voices heard –  this apparent ballot sleight of hand is unacceptable and should not be allowed to stand in my opinion. I believe the appropriate course of action would be to send the issue back to the voters with the required information included on the ballot. In fact we should demand it.

Little-Known Important Information For Great Falls Park District Voters

Did you know that if you own property in Great Falls but live outside the city limits you can still vote either for or against the new consolidated Park District 1 tax increase?

I didn’t know that very significant piece of information and I’ve been a voter here for decades. Someone asked me about it on Monday so I called Cascade County Clerk & Recorder Rina Moore and she confirmed to me that, yes indeed, it is a fact.

She also told me that they posted the following information on the Cascade County Elections Department website just today, Monday, April 30. Ballots went out a week ago.

“If you are a property owner within the City of Great Falls you are entitled to vote in the current election for the City of Great Falls Park District #1.  You must go to the elections office with a copy of your property taxes in order to receive a ballot.  We are located at 325 2nd Ave N, Monday-Friday 7am-5pm and on election day Tuesday May 8th, we will be located at the Exhibition Hall 400 3rd St NW from 7am-8pm.”

Moore also told me that the elections office posted the information in the Great Falls Tribune three times. Did anyone see it? Usually those “public notices” are buried somewhere deep in the paper and you have to have a microscope to read them. So it doesn’t surprise me that some folks were totally unaware of this option.

“I think our public officials need to do a better job with press releases, social media and more timely notices on their websites to make the public aware of this kind of important voter information.”

I think our public officials need to do a better job with press releases, social media and more timely notices on their websites to make the public aware of this kind of important voter information. In the absence of a more robust attempt to “get the word out”, some people could come to the conclusion that there are those who prefer the public to remain in the dark on issues like this.

Anyway, I encourage everyone to spread the word about this little-known option for Great Falls property owners who live outside the city limits.

Park Pickpocket

Did you know that the City of Great Falls is spending Great Falls taxpayers money to promote a ballot measure to, wait for it…get more of Great Falls taxpayers money!

The Great Falls Parks and Recreation Department’s yearly Summer Guide, paid for with our tax dollars, came out today in the Tribune and last week at various locations and it was filled with “information” about the new proposed consolidated Park District tax which will be on the ballot this May, including warnings of the dire consequences if voters don’t vote in favor of it and a big, red “VOTE MAY 8, 2018”.

In addition, city staff, paid for by our tax dollars, has been busy with “informational” presentations and flyers and meetings with Mayor Kelly and others. Your city government has been using its resources and moolah, our tax dollars, to promote the Park District plan. And the cost of that plan to taxpayers?:

“The cost of the proposed improvements for the district is $1.5 million annually for the first three years; the assessment method will be based on taxable value; the estimated 2018 assessment for a property with a 2017 Market Value of $100,000 would be $22.92 per year ($1.91/month).  The amount of the assessment can be adjusted annually and must be set by resolution and adopted by the City Commission.” – (emphasis added) https://greatfallsmt.net/recreation/great-falls-park-district-number-1

This expenditure of your money by the city in a campaign to get more of your money is made possible because the City of Great Falls formed an Incidental Political Committee registered with the Montana Office of Political Practices for the purpose of influencing the May election in favor of the Park District levy. The City of Great Falls Incidental Committee lists Melissa Kinzler as Treasurer. Ms. Kinzler is also the Director of Fiscal Services for the City of Great Falls.

It appears that so far the city has spent $6052.78 to promote the Park District plan to get more of our money. Here is a detailed accounting.

This kind of stuff shouldn’t surprise anyone here. Remember last year when the city spent $16,403.35 (not including labor cost) on a full color fancy brochure mail insert promoting the Park District levy which they included with the tax levy protest form! You can’t make this stuff up.

So even though they are not explicitly declaring “VOTE YES FOR THE PARK DISTRICT” in their “informational presentations”, which would not be permitted even under the label of an incidental committee, the City of Great Falls is nevertheless promoting a big new local tax and they are using your tax dollars to do it.

“So even though they are not explicitly declaring “VOTE YES FOR THE PARK DISTRICT” in their “informational presentations”, which would not be permitted even under the label of an incidental committee, the City of Great Falls is nevertheless promoting a big new local tax and they are using your tax dollars to do it.”

Are you okay with that? We’re not.

Shots Fired In City Parks Gun Debate

The national gun debate has nothing on what is poised to be a hotly contested local
Second Amendment battle.

Yes, concealed weapon permit holders are currently allowed to carry their weapons
in city parks, including the River’s Edge Trail, according to our City Attorney Sara
Sexe. Sexe reported at the November 17 city commission meeting that she had
researched Montana Code Annotated references and looked at the history and
intent of the 1997 city commission, before determining that permit holders are
allowed to carry concealed in city parks. She put that opinion on the record at that
meeting and again at the November 21 city commission meeting.

I concluded as much from my research of the Official Code of the City of Great
Falls and the Montana Code Annotated more than two years ago. When I expressed
my finding that it was legal to acquaintances who kept telling me it wasn’t legal,
they vehemently disagreed with me. So I was vindicated when Sexe confirmed
what I had already determined to be true.

I’ll admit that at first glance the city code appears to ban concealed weapons in city
parks. Even the Great Falls Tribune got it wrong on their website. In articles dated
April 7 and November 17, the Tribune featured a video which further perpetuates
the myth that it is illegal to carry firearms, whether open or concealed carry, in city
parks in Great Falls.

Now that the city commissioners are aware of the “loophole” in the city code, it
seems at least two of them would likely push the opposite agenda, which would
make it illegal for permit holders to concealed carry in city parks.

The matter was made public at the October 17 city commission meeting, when a
group of local residents asked the commissioners for clarification of city laws
regarding concealed carry for weapons permit holders in city parks, including the
River’s Edge Trail. Some of the commenters were from the Missouri River Women
Shooters, a local organization that educates and supports women in the proper use
of firearms. Many had heard a variety of interpretations of local law and thought it
best to hear from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

Commissioner Burow mentioned that he had heard from some folks recently, who
wanted clarification about the code. Mayor Kelly wanted to have City Attorney
Sara Sexe to do further research on the matter before more discussion took place.

The city code currently reads:

9.8.020 – Prohibiting and suppressing the possession of weapons.

A. The carrying of concealed or unconcealed weapons (MCA 45-2-101 (76), and as
such statute may hereafter be amended) to, on, or at a public assembly, publicly
owned building, park under City jurisdiction, or school is hereby prohibited.

B. Exceptions are as otherwise provided by MCA 45-8-351(2)(b) which allows for
display of firearms at shows or other public occasions by collectors and others,
and MCA 45-8-317 which states what persons are allowed to carry weapons, and
as such statutes may hereafter be amended.
(Ord. 3158, 2017; Ord. 2732, 1997).

The exception refers back to the Montana Code Annotated 45-8-317 which
provides for concealed carry for permit holders, except where prohibited under
state law.

What further muddies the water is MCA 45-8-351. It contains contradictory
language that leads off with a subsection restricting local governments from
enacting more restrictive weapons laws, except as provided in a later subsection
which allows them to do so for public safety reasons.

In November 1997, the Great Falls City Commission passed Ordinance 2732. The
commission meeting minutes state:

“The purpose of Ordinance 2732 is to exercise the power given in MCA 45-8-351
by establishing an ordinance prohibiting the carrying of concealed or
unconcealed weapons into a public building or to a public assembly.”

Note that the city commission back in 1997 didn’t include concealed carry in city
parks in their statement of purpose. By also inserting the reference to MCA
45-8-317, it seems their intent was to allow permit holders to carry in city parks.

At the November 7 commission meeting, even more Great Falls residents came
forward to show support for concealed weapons carry in the parks and to get an
official clarification. The fact that folks want to see this more clearly defined and
codified, speaks volumes about the public’s perception and mistrust of the city
commission and city government. A city attorney’s interpretation of the law isn’t
enough for them.

Commissioner Bronson made it clear that he wanted to hear from the opposition.
“It’s true that while we have rights of ownership I was always taught that having
a firearm is also a privilege. It’s a privilege from the standpoint of listening to
what my neighbors and friends have to say about it…

“We have to have a community conversation about this because, quite frankly,
after the presentation three weeks ago, I was approached by some people and
what they told me is they were scared of what they heard here that night. I said,
“Why are you scared. I know a lot of these people, they’re wonderful folks.
They’re no threat to you.” Well, they think you are. They’re afraid of people who
carry guns. And while I don’t share their fear, I understand where they’re
coming from….”

Mayor Kelly also made it clear that he wanted to postpone any action on the issue
until after the newly elected commissioners were seated.

“This conversation is appropriate and it’s timely and is driven by concern and
fear, which is warranted. There’s an opportunity to continue this discussion and
I hope to do that in the new year….

“Anytime you talk about increased gun availability, gun usage, gun issues, it’s an
emotional side. As I said three weeks ago, we’ve heard from one side and we
haven’t heard from the other. There’s time to do that and we will do that. My
goal here is to have a community dialogue about this, perhaps not even in these
chambers, but as a community forum, so that the sides, the different sides of this
issue can look at each other and talk about their fears and their concerns,
because there’s warranted discussion on both sides….I’d also like to give an
opportunity to the two new commissioners who are going to be sitting up here an
opportunity to be in that discussion and to listen to the community and go
forward from there.”

One must wonder if the current commissioners, minus Commission Burow, are
postponing any action until the new year in order to get unanimous support for a
government-knows-best political agenda of further restricting firearms within the
city. Commissioner Burow, who came forward in support of clarifying the current
code, rather than opening it up to more debate, would be gone. By all appearances
the two newly elected commissioners, Mary Moe and Owen Robinson, would
support more local governmental restrictions on gun rights in Great Falls.
Moe’s support of a more liberal agenda leads me to believe that she would vote to
ban concealed carry in our parks. I may be generalizing here but it seems to me
that anyone who wants to remove historic statues in the name of political
correctness is probably miles away from the right-to-bear-arms camp.

Owen Robinson would likely oppose it as well. At the October 17 city commission
meeting, Tammy Evans, organizer of the Missouri River Women Shooters, asked
for a show of hands supporting permit holders to concealed carry in city parks.
Most hands in the room went up. Robinson was at that meeting but his hand stayed
down. A pretty solid indication of the way he’d vote.

I hope they both prove me wrong.

At the November 21 city commission meeting, we heard from some opposition to
concealed carry in parks. The gun paranoia was obvious.

BJ Angermeyer stated she was, “Speaking on behalf of many of my fellow citizens
appalled that the guns may possibly be in our beloved parks and trails.”
In response, Mayor Kelly said, “We’ll have an opportunity to hear from you in
greater length etc. at a meeting we’ll have in the new year.”

Sharon Patton Griffin opined that, “We have a past practice of not allowing
concealed carry in parks.” She went on to claim that should have carry some
weight in the matter.

She stated she had a letter from her husband and then explained why he didn’t

“I tell you quite frankly that he was afraid to come tonight because he said you
know, there’s gonna be some gun nut there that will shoot all of us there that don’t
believe in…ah…”

Someone interrupted and said, “That’s ridiculous.”

I’d have to agree. If you don’t feel safe in a room with members of the Great Falls
Police Department in attendance, guns at the ready, where would you feel safe?
Also, permit holders aren’t allowed to bring weapons into public buildings and
know it. The person more likely to enter a public building or public assembly with
guns blazing will not be a concealed carry permit holder—I think that can be
shown by looking at past incidents.

These scared-of-firearms folks should be more worried about criminals who carry
guns and aren’t going to follow the law, than about law-abiding citizens who
follow the law and exercise their God-given and Second Amendment affirmed
right to carry.

A potential rapist on River’s Edge Trail won’t choose to follow the law and not
carry a weapon, just to break another law—that’s ludicrous. The gun paranoia
folks, by banning concealed carry in city parks and trails, will just create more soft
targets. The Great Falls police can’t accompany ever citizen who wants to walk the
River’s Edge Trail. What’s it going to take for these folks to realize we are better
off with an armed citizenry, instead of a disarmed citizenry unable to defend
against armed thugs?

The debate is on and it looks like it’s not going away as some had hoped.
Interestingly, weapons include more than firearms under Great Falls and Montana
law. For example, knives having a blade 4 inches long or longer are among the
objects defined as weapons by the MCA.

Consider this: if you brought a 4 inch, or longer blade knife to Gibson Park to cut your picnic watermelon this Summer, and you are not a concealed carry permit holder, did you break the law?