This week I read an article titled “WHY IN THE FUNK DOES GREAT FALLS GET DISSED SO MUCH” posted on KMON’s website and written by Tammie Toren, a KMON DJ.
While I agree with Tammie that my hometown Great Falls is an awesome and wonderful place to live I have to scratch my head a little at a couple of the observations she makes in the article.
The very first sentence in the piece is, “Apparently, I’m in the minority of people who love living in Great Falls.” No, Tammie is not in the minority. The majority of us Great Fallsians love living here because we recognize how special this place is.
No Back Turning Here
Another comment that Tammie makes in her article is, “Even in a Great Falls that has turned it’s back on the middle and lower class.” Sorry Tammie, but nothing could be further from the truth.
There are dozens of non-profit and volunteer organizations with hundreds of dedicated local folks working 24/7/365 helping the “middle and lower class” in Great Falls.
The City allocates hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in CDBG and other federal funding to help create more opportunities for lower income families and individuals in this community.
Great Falls is filled with good and decent folks who donate their time and resources to helping others. We’re not turning our backs on anyone here.
Does Great Falls ‘Let’ The Right One In?
A third head-scratching comment in the article is, “Even in a Great Falls that won’t let a chain ANYTHING in town, so the middle and lower class are forced to shop elsewhere because $150 for a pair of sweats or $200 for dinner for 2 are out of reach.”
That represents a common misconception that someone, somewhere in town is in charge of deciding which businesses can or cannot locate in Great Falls.
While City zoning codes and development policies can have a minor impact on where national chain stores decide to locate, that decision is almost completely determined by market and demographic factors, not by some entity in the City deciding to ‘let’ a business open.
Is Great Falls perfect? Certainly not. Is there a need to change and make improvements here? Absolutely.
We can love our town and seek to make it better at the same time.
Ready Or Not, Great Falls Is Going To See Growth And Change
In another recent article, by Joe Robison on moveBuddha.com, Great Falls is listed as number 4 of the top 5 cities to move to in Montana.
Like it or not Great Falls is on the verge of being “discovered”.
Like it or not change is coming sooner rather than later and what we can control right now are two things:
- Preparing our public safety and physical infrastructure for the growth and change that’s heading our way.
- Managing the rate and type of change that is inevitable here.
It’s going to be kind of uncomfortable for those of us who are used to the “old Great Falls”.
But it’s also going to be an exciting and challenging decade of transformation.
Ready or not, here it comes.