Do You Want Great Falls To Grow?

It’s time to update our Growth Policy, Great Falls.

It may come as a surprise to some folks but there are a significant number of Great Fallsians who don’t want our city to grow at all, they’re happy with things exactly as they are here in the Electric City.

I get it. Take a look at Bozeman and you see why people here in Great Falls are skeptical about the concept of ‘growth’. Using the ‘Goldilocks And The Three Bears’ story as an analogy, well, that Bozeman porridge is too hot.

But here’s the deal – Great Falls is going to grow whether we like it or not. The question is this: What kind of growth do we want and how do we manage that growth?

That’s where the Growth Policy comes in, and the process has already started.

Here’s an excerpt from a recent City of Great Falls press release:

“Join us in creating a roadmap for tomorrow, one that reflects our shared values and aspirations. The City of Great Falls is calling on members of the community to serve on its Growth Policy Steering Committee.
Apply today:
Applications are open until 5PM on April 12, 2024.”

Whether you like your porridge hot or cold (I prefer it ‘just right’) now’s your chance to get involved in shaping the future for our community. Even if you aren’t selected to be on the Growth Policy Steering Committee there will be many opportunities for your input and voice to be heard, but only if you make the effort to participate in the public process over the coming months.

So stay tuned and stay engaged.

Posted by Rick Tryon

Rick Tryon is an entrepreneur, a singer-songwriter, and is currently serving a four year term as a Great Falls City Commissioner. Helping Montana become an even greater place to live, play and work is Tryon's passion.

Reader interactions

7 Replies to “Do You Want Great Falls To Grow?”

  1. Enough with the restaurants, banks, and casinos.

    Maybe Great Falls can get back into the business of actually producing/manufacturing something (aerospace type stuff for instance)


  2. Why not get some popular restaurants like Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Texas Road House etc., what’s holding those places back?


    1. Amen, brother


  3. Christine Waterstripe March 30, 2024 at 1:19 PM

    First… we need to shrink our crime and better support our police department and sheriff’s department and other public services so we can crack down on the fentanyl problem, and crime in general. Our department does an amazing job considering.. but I believe they need more support.

    I think it would be wonderful to continue to highlight the local buisness community.. especially if we could get some more diversity in terms of cultural food options like Missoula or Bozeman has.. so we don’t have to drive 3 hours if we want something more than burgers, BBQ or fluffy tacos…..and build unique attractions like a drive in theater with Bluetooth connections for speakers in your vehicle and a concessions stand that sells snacks, drinks and food for affordable prices.. expand and improve the water park ..its cool now…but making it an epic attraction that competes with someof the other water parks in our state…., wouldnt be terrible to have an amusement park either…. like six flags….give a makeover to downtown… some of the buildings are extremely run down and could be better utilized.

    Be great to see a Trader Joe’s, a Costco, Best Buy, Whole foods, Victoria Secret, Winco, Boot Barn, World Market, Asian Grocery store or cultural markets..

    I know everyone loves the small town feel…. but we are currently missing out on a lot of revenue due to our lack of options. We are literally bursting at the seems in terms of housing…. something needs to change so we have room for growth.


    1. We had a Victoria’s Secret in the mall but it, like many others in the mall, has closed.


    2. …. give a makeover to downtown …

      Please, no more makeovers … Have you seen the last makeover on Central Ave lately?
      The last thing we need is for City to go in (again) and try to make Great Falls into something it’s not (again) … from the Civic Center to 7th St is a mess every since they decided to misalign the lanes and extend the sidewalks into the middle of the street. It’s a mess.

      There’s a ton of new things City can do. Great Falls can expand it’s footprint to the west, north and south – How about annexation and rezoning south of Fox Farm for eatery/quickstop sort of things … Bring City water and other related infrastructure extending to the interstate and the base of hill 57 on the west end of town … or … realigning 36th Ave NE and Bootlegger to meetup with US87 and give that intersection a commercial option for shopping food and fuel. Great Falls needs satellite options for food and fuel on it’s outskirts so we don’t have people clogging up 10th Ave S, Fox Farm and Smelter all the time. I’ve sat here and watched City trying to rework the downtown core over and over again and right now, this is as good as it’s ever going to get.

      There are a ton of streets that need paved in the SE section of town … How about we focus on stuff like that?

      Forget about the malls … that ship has sailed. Focus instead on providing options where the people are instead of where they aren’t.

      Central Ave and 10th Ave S doesn’t have to be the end-all for food, fuel, lodging, or shopping.

      The City of Bozeman just annexed a bunch of land for high density housing – No reason why Great Falls can’t do the same. Gibson Flats, Lower River Road, Fox Farm Road, Bootlegger Trail — sky’s the limit here … we don’t need to keep jamming thing up against Gore Hill, or into Central Ave, or on to 10th Ave S.


  4. So Great Falls will grow? How long will it take? Here is something that maybe needs to be looked at by all. I have copied (from Wikipedia) the counts from 1970 to 2020, according to the US Census. Great Falls grew by an astounding – wait for it – 351 people in 50 years. So if 35 people move here every 10 years we are in for quite a wait to see real growth. Bozeman has MSU, so it stands to reason why they see real growth.
    1970 60,091 8.8%
    1980 56,725 −5.6%
    1990 55,097 −2.9%
    2000 56,690 2.9%
    2010 58,505 3.2%
    2020 60,442 3.3%
    U.S. Decennial Census[46][4]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *