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GFDA Top 18 6/25/14

Here's the GFDA Top 18 for last week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward! 
1) Employers in the Great Falls metro area added 129 jobs in May, setting another historic employment record and bringing our unemployment rate to 3.5%, according to data released Friday by the MT Dept. of Labor. Employment in our metro area has grown 4.07% in the last 10 months! There are 810 listings at the Great Falls Job Service. Spread the word to out-of-town colleagues, friends and family that Great Falls is growing and we have lots of great job opportunities available! Here is an updated Great Falls Growth Highlights for you to use in your business development and employee recruitment efforts.
2) We hosted visits from an industrial prospect that has shortlisted Great Falls and from a commercial developer considering property renovations and acquisitions.
3) Worked with a local business to do market forecasting research on future federal and state contracting opportunities. Worked with an out of state commercial broker to provide Great Falls market and growth information.
4) Started our exhibit and networking with agricultural-processing and food industry executives at the Institute of Food Technologist's annual Food Expo in New Orleans.
5) Construction of The Front's new brewery plant in downtown Great Falls has been completed! Construction of the new Buffalo Wild Wings started.
6) The Great Falls City Commission unanimously approved the Erck Hotels' proposed convention center addition to the Hilton Garden Inn and a new 101 room Home2 hotel.
7) The City Commission also unanimously approved the 24 unit City View apartment project.
8) Allegiant started its new direct flights from GTF to LAX, making it easier for folks in southern California to vacation and/or relocate to Great Falls!
9) NeighborWorks Great Falls announced plans for an 80-84 home subdivision called Valley View West which will feature its annual family-built houses. To date, NWGF has helped 97 Great Falls families to build affordable homes through USDA's Mutual Self Help program.
10) Presented and moderated at the Great Falls Workforce Housing Summit, an excellent event produced by the Great Falls Association of REALTORS with support from the Great Falls Homebuilders Association and many partners. MLS data shows that the average house sold price in Great Falls increased 7% from 2011-2013, but is still affordable at $169,838. The median increased 6% to $157,500. Currently, there are only 110 listings of homes affordable to families earning 80-120% of median income so clearly we need to produce more housing in order to continue to grow.
11) Cascade County home values increased 11.6% from 2008-2013 according to the Montana Department of Revenue, compared to 5.6% in Missoula, 13.6% in Lewis & Clark and 20% in Yellowstone counties. The median price of houses sold in Yellowstone County in 2013 was $219,000, over $60,000 more than in Great Falls.
12) Delivered Thought Patterns for High Performance to a full house. If you missed this opportunity to jump start positive change and growth in your company, register now to get a space for the next offering on September 23-24. Contact Renecca Engum for more info at 1-406-771-9032 or
13) Participated in a New Markets Tax Credit workshop presented by our NMTC partner, the Montana Community Development Corporation, and met with local developers to discuss using tax credits for a proposed Great Falls project.
14) Presented Great Falls brownfield redevelopment successes to bankers, attorneys and developers at the Brownfields Tools for Redevelopment and Economic Growth workshop in Miles City.
15) Met with the Montana High Tech Business Alliance to explore ways we can support the new industry trade organization and how the group can support our efforts to grow and diversify the Great Falls economy.
16) If you're a budding entrepreneur who's ready to move forward with your idea or are new in business, or know someone who is, come to one of our Start-Up Sparks! These open office hour sessions are held at noon at GFDA, 4th floor of the US Bank Building at 300 Central Avenue in downtown Great Falls. Plan to attend one of the upcoming sessions on Friday June 27th, Tuesday July 1st, Monday July 14th or Wednesday July 23rd. There's no need to register, simply show up. If you'd like to arrange to call or Skype in, or would like more info, contact Rebecca Engum at or 1-406-771-9032.
17) Corrected date for the Downtown Sidewalk Sale and Street Fair is Saturday, July 26, 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Sign up for a vendor or performance spot by contacting Sheila Rice, a board member of the Downtown Great Falls Association, at or 1-406-868-7933.
18) Two energy milestones this week: North Dakota hit the 1 million barrels per day mark and Canada approved Enbridge's Northern Gateway $7.9 billion pipeline that will connect Alberta to British Columbia ports.
Congratulations to the Great Fall Tribune for wining the general excellence award from the Montana Newspaper Association and to Tribune Publisher Jim Strauss for being honored with the Master Publisher-Editor award!
Congratulations to everyone who worked to created the new Robert's Playground in downtown Great Falls!
Untame your entrepreneurial spirit! 


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Great Falls, MT 59401
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