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.

Posted by Philip M. Faccenda

Philip M. Faccenda is an AIA award-winning architect and planner. He is the Editor-in-Chief of E-City Beat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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