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GFDA Top Ten for 2015

Here's the GFDA Top 10 for the year 2015, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward. Next week, Top 10 predictions for 2016.


1) Personal income, per capita income, average wages and new property tax revenue increased, results that affect everyone. Personal income grew 4.8% in 2014 and was projected to grow 4.7% in 2015. Total wages grew 4.9%. Average annual wages in 2015Q3 were up 5% over the previous year. Property tax revenue from new development totaled over $1.4 million in the City of Great Falls and Cascade County.

2) Loenbro opened its new 52 acre headquarters and fabrication complex. ADF, BE Aerospace and other industrial companies continued to grow. Calumet Montana Refining made great progress on its expansion project.

3) Construction began on the infrastructure for the first 10 lots in the the Great Falls AgriTech Park Helena Chemical and Ruedebusch Development bought 34 acres in the Park and began earthwork on new facilities.

4) The Talus Apartment Homes 216-unit development opened and several more apartment projects started construction, including a 36 unit development on the University of Great Falls campus, the 36 unit Voyageur Apartments, and 16 additional units for the Benefis Cascade Ridge apartments. Lease-up demand was so strong that Talus announced a second phase of 72 units.

5) The Hotel Arvon opened in downtown Great Falls, joined by a number of new businesses including Electric City Coffee and Kermitz. Montana Farmers Union announced 100% occupancy of the downtown Times Square building.

6) Local developers bought the 14-acre County riverfront site for redevelopment. The City moved forward with major improvements to the West Bank Riverfront Park. The Rivers Edge Trail saw numerous improvements and new trail section construction start.

7) Walmart purchased the land for the new East End Retail Center. Retailers TJ Maxx and Sears Hometown Store opened. Super 1 Foods announced plans for a store on 10th Avenue South. Construction began on the new US Forest Service complex. Local entrepreneurship continued to expand, including opening of the Roadhouse Diner in Great Falls and the Fenner Sawmill in Babb.

8) Major community improvements included the opening of the Maclean Animal Adoption Center and of the new welding training facilities at Great Falls College MSU, completion of the Great Falls Clinic's new hospital, and the start of construction of the Great Falls Rescue Mission's Cameron Family Center. The C.M. Russell Museum, the University of Great Falls, and Great Falls College MSU all received major gifts.

9) The US Air Force announced that the 819th Red Horse Squadron would stay in Great Falls. The Airmen of Malmstrom AFB won the Blanchard Trophy for best missile wing in the country. The Montana Air National Guard made great progress in its transition to C-130 aircraft.

10) Great Falls International Airport set another passenger record and Glacier National Park set another visitor record. Erck Hotels announced plans for a new Home 2 hotel. The Great Falls Tourism Alliance was formally created and hired the first Great Falls Tourism Director.


GFDA is proud to have played a part in moving Great Falls Forward, thanks to record private investor support. In 2015, we met with targeted companies and site selection consultants in 10 states and Canadian provinces, visiting several states and provinces multiple times. We published 3 agricultural processing niche business cases and secured a grant to commission 5 more. We closed loans totaling $2,681,469 to help finance business start-ups and expansions, and we approved loans totaling $2,293,000 for additional projects that will close in 2016. 


We coached and trained hundreds of small businesses throughout the Golden Triangle, secured $1,670,787 in new loan capital and lending support, secured $400,000 to launch a Brownfield Assessment effort in 2016 focused on downtown and riverfront revitalization, and secured $480,000 in workforce training grants for growing industrial companies. We won the Phoenix Award at the National Brownfield Conference and earned reaccreditation from the International Economic Development Council.


THANK YOU to our investors, partners, clients, supporters, volunteer leaders, and wonderful staff for making 2015 a great year for Great Falls and the entire trade area! Team Great Falls is on a roll and we're going to achieve even more in 2016.


Untamed your entrepreneurial spirit!



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