Public forum will provide details about proposed Great Falls Park District

Posted at 11:31 AM, Apr 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-23 13:31:15-04

Great Falls Park & Recreation will host a town hall meeting on Thursday to provide detailed information about the proposed Great Falls Park District 1.

The Park District will be on the May 8th election ballot.

The public forum will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 26, in the Gibson Room of the Civic Center.

According to a press release from the city, Park & Recreation partnered with Pros Consulting, Inc. to develop a Park & Recreation Master Plan. The purpose of the plan was to create a clear set of objectives and provide direction for the development and enhancement of the City’s parks and recreation system for a short-term, mid-term and long-term range. Areas of focus include parks, trails, urban forest, recreation and aquatic programs, and amenities and facilities.

The Park & Recreation Master Plan was adopted by the City Commission on November 15, 2016. It includes an intensive public process to ensure a complete understanding of the community’s priorities; including town hall meetings, 84 focus group meetings, a statistically accurate survey, and an online survey open to the entire community.

The plan identified $12.6 million in deferred maintenance projects that should be addressed in 1-5 years.  Because the City’s general fund cannot adequately fund parks and recreation and there has been minimal funding for capital improvements or major repairs, the Park and Recreation Master Plan recommended the creation of a City-wide Park District to supplement current funding and create a sustainable funding source for parks and recreation.

Click here to read the plan (PDF).

(JANUARY 16, 2018) The Great Falls City Commission on Tuesday scheduled a public hearing on the proposed park district for February 6th.

According to the commission agenda report, the purpose of the district is to provide certain maintenance, purchasing, and improvement services for city-owned facilities, land, and equipment. 

Some of the proposed services include restroom improvements for Gibson, Oddfellows, and Lions parks, picnic pavilions and tables, play equipment, and resurfacing sports courts.

The cost of the proposed improvements is $1.5 million annually for the first three years.

"We feel a need to have a conversation that’s more direct," Commissioner Tracy Houck said. 

By setting the public hearing for February 6th, the City Commission is preparing for the proposed park district resolution to appear on the May 8th ballots.  

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