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GFDA Top 17 11/17/2016


GFDA Top 17
Here's the GFDA Top 17 for this week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward. This is the 279th edition of our almost weekly Top 10. If you find these interesting, please forward to friends and colleagues.

1) The Peak Health and Wellness Center announced plans to open a second location, occupying the historic Barrel Building in the West Bank Landing mixed-use development. The 15,700 square foot facility was designed by L'Heureux Page Werner Architects and will be constructed by James Talcott Construction.

2) Alexa Bell and Joe Anderegg announced plans to open Fire Artisan Pizza in the historic downtown Montana Building around the corner from Crooked Tree Coffee and Cake. See more details in Tribune story. Another great addition to downtown!

3) Construction is underway on the $28 million upgrade of the City's water treatment plant. The project includes a new surge tank, installing ultraviolet disinfection, adding a chemical feed building, replacing underground water pipes, and replacing electric cables and equipment. Sletten Construction is the general contractor. TD&H Engineers and L'Heureux Page Werner were involved in its design, as well as the great team at the City's Public Works Department.

4) Paving work was completed on the $10.3 million crosswinds runway project at Great Falls International Airport. Next year the airport plans to invest $5 million in connecting taxiways to maximize the impact of the extended runway. See more details in Tribune.

5) Great Falls Public Schools selected 10 professional firms to provide services for a variety of projects associated with the $98 million in school facility improvements approved by voters in October.  The firms were selected in the areas of engineering, geotechnical analysis, hazardous material inspections and abatement, and architectural design.

6) Installation of the 18th Avenue North rail crossing signal for the Great Falls AgriTech Park was completed, marking the final infrastructure improvements serving the first 6 lots in the development.

7) The Great Falls City Commission approved a Park & Recreation Master Plan. The plan details include: $12.6 million in critical repairs to maintain current facilities, recommending that these repairs be made in the next 1-5 years; $1.1 million in improvements to existing facilities, recommending that these be made in the next 5-10 years; and, $20.2 million in visionary projects to consider in the next 5-15 years.

From the above five items, its clear that Great Falls is looking forward and making critical infrastructure investments to keep our community safe, attractive to residents, and competitive in securing new entrepreneurial and corporate investment. We have more work to do. For example, we need to replace the Interstate 15 bridge serving the airport to allow for more future development on Gore Hill.

8) Hosted another gathering of the Great Falls Area Food Manufacturers Roundtable. Starting in January of 2017, we will be holding these monthly, much like the development coffee, and opening it up to all types of manufacturers in the region. Stay tuned for January to discuss ideas, problems, supply chain, growth planning, workforce, etc. These open format discussions are designed for industry experts to share with each other, create synergies and make serendipitous connections. To learn more or provide feedback, please contact Jolene Schalper, 750.4481.

9) Great Falls College MSU was once again named a Military Friendly School by Victory Media. Military students, including spouses and dependents, make up 14 percent of the student body at the college.

10) Started a new round of outreach visits to existing companies in the Great Falls trade area, a key part of our business retention and expansion efforts. Visited Harvest Moon Brewery which is gradually expanding to keep up with demand. Harvest Moon's Belgian White continues to be a top-selling craft brew. Visited The Ranches at Belt Creek, a multi-lot sportsmans club. The Ranches currently have 26 of 68 lots sold. Some of their clientele have been developers from major cities that have found the Great Falls region to offer great opportunities. If your business is facing opportunities or threats, we or one of our many partners may be able to help. Contact Austin Walker at or 1-406-750-3285.

11) We work with local bankers across the state to offer SBA 504 Grow financing for commercial real estate and equipment. Grow loans offer fixed interest rates for 10 or 20 years and down payments as low as 10%. Interest rates are currently 4.67% for 10 year notes and 4.62% for 20 year notes. Please contact Mike Archer with any questions or to pre-qualify your project;

12) We'll be exhibiting at the MT Grain Growers Convention this week. Did you know that Montana harvested a total 5,265,000 acres of wheat in 2015 and produced a total of 185,415,000 bushels in that year. The Great Falls region accounted for 50% (92,862,300 bushels) of wheat produced on 48 (2,536,050 acres) of wheat acres harvested in 2015. That's a lot of wheat!

13) Over the next 10 years, the Great Falls labor market will need to find 9,977 workers to replace existing employees and fill new jobs, according to JobsEQ. And, the economists at JobsEQ don't know about the soon to open FCR customer service center, new retailers, and expanding manufacturers in our market.

14) Join us this Friday, December 2, at GFDA (300 Central Avenue #406) at 7 AM for our monthly Development Coffee! If you're interested in hosting future Development Coffees, give Jolene a call at 750.4481.

15) Signed a $40,000 Community Development Block Grant contract from the City that will be added to our loan capital pool and be immediately invested in a bridge loan for infrastructure enabling the new Springhill Suites Hotel in the West Bank Landing Development.

16) Worked on reaching out to potential petroleum site property owners to see if their property may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of contamination, and to educate them on the tools we have for assessment, cleanup and redevelopment.  If you are interested in more information, call Lillian Sunwall at (406) 750-1253.

17) We are thankful for you! Our team of Forward Great Falls Investors is made up of business leaders from across industries -- big and small businesses, all working together to make Great Falls even greater. We applaud your commitment and support, and we thank you for being part of the team! If you're not on the Forward Great Falls Team yet, give Jolene a call at 406.750.4481.

Untame Your Entrepreneurial Spirit in Great Falls, Montana!


Brett Doney
President and CEO
Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.
"There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply be spending his money somewhere else."
Sam Walton
Congratulations to the Downtown Great Falls Association and everyone involved in saving the downtown Christmas tree tradition, and to the downtown Business Improvement District for investing in more holiday decorations!
Cost-Effective Industrial Sites Available
If your company needs a rail-served, shovel-ready site with all municipal services at your door, we have lots available for immediate construction in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Contact Brett Doney at 1-406-750-2119 or 


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