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GFDA Top 10 For The Week

Here's the GFDA Top 10 for this week:
1) GFDA Board approved a $350,000 grant from our EPA Brownfields fund to Easter Seals Goodwill to remove hazardous materials as part of their building renovation on 44th Street.
2) Great Falls City Commission approved annexation, subdivision and heavy industrial zoning for first phase of Great Bear Innovation Park; we testified in support and several years ago secured state funding to help pay for the park's master plan.
3) GFDA Board elected John Koppelman of Wells Fargo Bank as Chair for FY 2012. Thank you to Scott Patera of Northwestern Energy for serving as Chair in FY 2011!
4) High Plains Financial Board approved a collateral swap to allow for further development of the West Bank One project which includes Staybridge Inn and Faster Basset.
5) GFDA won an Innovation Award from the National Association of Development Organizations for the Great Falls Regional Diversification Project. The market findings of the competitive assessments guide our agri-processing, energy and entrepreneurial business development efforts. The project was made possible by a grant from DOD and a MT Dept. of Commerce CDBG grant to Cascade County. The project was done in partnership with our rural economic development partners in Glacier, Pondera, Teton and Toole Counties through Sweetgrass Development.
6) ExpoPark Director Lisa Bracco presented the findings of the ExpoPark study to the GFDA Board. The study outlines options for improvements and securing more events for the Park. It was led by Cascade County with funding support from an EDA grant we wrote.
7) Met with the River Trails organizers to discuss ways the Great Falls AgriTech Park could enhance the trail.
8) City staff informed us that EDA has awarded a downtown planning grant to the City; we wrote the original grant application.
9) GFDA Board adopted performance goals for FY 2012 which started July 1st. In summary, goals include 29 business expansion, attraction and start-up successes, completion of the Great Falls brand development, construction start of the Great Falls AgriTech Park, 200 new primary sector jobs, $25 million capital investment, an updated web site, supporting completion of the MATL line and over $20 million in gap financing.
10) Made proposal to Great Falls City Commission to improve economic development efforts by GFDA contacting every commercial business and real estate applicant to the City to assist in any way we can to make their project successful, and for GFDA to help market City properties that were acquired for economic development purposes; getting these properties back on the tax rolls will spur development, create jobs and increase the City's tax base.

Due to the proposed City budget, which cuts it's investment in GFDA in half (by $50,000), we have had to temporarily postpone our Alberta business development efforts, the shared commercial kitchen/processing survey, the new GFDA web site, sending a community leader team to the International Economic Development Council annual conference, retaining an agri-processing consultant to pursue some of the opportunities identified in the Diversification market-assessment, and the second stage of the Great Falls brand development effort (though we have until January to fill this budget gap so there won't be any delay in the first phase which is underway). We cut an existing part-time position and eliminated a new administrative assistant position. We hope to be able to pursue the above opportunities soon and will keep you up-to-date.


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