The Great Falls Park & Recreation Department was recently awarded $200,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to restore Morony Park, located at 111 12th Street North, and location of the now-closed Morony Natatorium.
The restoration plans include removing the Natatorium building and installing a new play structure, pavilion, sidewalks, and an updated basketball court.
Lanni Klasner, spokesperson for the City, said in a news release that removing the Natatorium will eliminate a safety hazard and blight while restoring the open park space and providing much-needed amenities to the neighborhood.
The nearest park with amenities such as a basketball court and a play structure is 1 ½ miles away. The new sidewalks will provide handicapped accessibility to the amenities and offer easy access for families with strollers.
“The grant request for the Park and Recreation Department is consistent with the City’s adopted Annual Action Plan, which contains the goal of slum and blight removal. Upgrading the park also provides an important outdoor recreation facility for nearby low to moderate-income residents,” said Tonya Shumaker, CDBG Administrator.
Additionally, the Morony Park improvements will meet the goals outlined in the Park & Recreation Master Plan. The City Commission adopted the master plan in November 2016 after an extensive public process, including surveys, town meetings, focus groups, and meetings with City officials. Walking trails and neighborhood parks ranked as the two highest priorities for citizens.
“While we know the removal of the Natatorium is the end of an era in Great Falls, we are looking forward to creating a new space where families can recreate and build new memories,” said Steve Herrig, Park & Recreation Director. “In addition to Morony Park improvements, residents can also look forward to the opening of the new indoor aquatic and recreation center in the spring of 2024.”
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