Young adults in Great Falls had an opportunity for their voice to be heard by community leaders, and brainstorm ways to make it better though conversation at the first “Future of the Falls Forum” in early October. Now, forum leaders are focusing on feedback and what comes next.
More than 120 young adults attended the October forum. At the end of the event, attendees were asked to fill out surveys. Leaders received 101 returned surveys, and of those, 60 people indicated they wanted to be put to work right away and involved in the next stop of making Great Falls even better.
Great Falls City Commissioner and forum leader Mary Moe said the surveys reflected two particular observations from attendees.
“One was ‘I’m so glad I have this positive view of Great Falls, this positive vision about what we should be doing and about how we should be moving forward.’ That was one. The second one was ‘I thought I was all alone, turns out all these other people are here,’ so that was really a great observation to come out of the surveys and echoed the sentiments of the forum,” said Moe.
Based on the surveys, three issues will be in focus for the next forum, planned for December. One focus topic includes exploring if city government is a help or hindrance.
“We heard some things that are either stereotypes or not, we’ll find out, about city government, and we thought we should explore that,” said Moe.
Other topics include downtown Great Falls, and economic opportunity.
“How can we attract entrepreneurs, how can we bring higher wage jobs into the community, and we want to make sure we talk with young people who have done just that,” Moe said.
One specific idea that came out of forum was for a bike-loan program on the River’s Edge Trail. Commissioner Moe, along with Great Falls City Mayor Bob Kelly, already met last week with a committee to pursue this idea and talk about ways to implement it.
The 60 people who indicated they want to be involved moving forward were asked to submit questions for each of the focus topics. The next meeting will also involve community leaders who have knowledge in those areas to answer questions and hear people’s perspectives. Commissioner Moe said people are encouraged to suggest ideas, even if they feel those ideas have failed before.
“We have such talented young people in our community and they have great ideas, and what they don’t realize is that those of us who have bene here for a long time, can’t wait to turn them loose. I’m just really excited about what we heard and the enthusiasm there,” said Moe.
The next forum is planned for December. A specific date has not yet been set.
Commissioner Moe said anyone is welcome to be part of the forums, or planning for the forums moving forward.
Commissioner Moe can be reached here.
–Reported by Shannon Newth/MTN News