GREAT FALLS — With just two weeks left in 2021, many people may be looking ahead to 2022. One thing you’ll see in Great Falls in the new year is wayfinding signs.
They’re expected to be installed in the spring and will help direct people to places such as the downtown area, parks, and the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center.
The wayfinding project has been part of the city’s master plan since 2012, but Joan Redeen with the Great Falls Business Improvement District said work to get the signs up was actually going on before that.
"There's going to be approximately 60 signs installed within Great Falls directing people to all of the amazing and wonderful assets that we have and again, just tremendous excitement that the sign will go into the ground because we've been working on this at that point for about 10 years,” said Redeen.
The signs are expected to last for seven to 10 years. Redeen said the Downtown Development Partnership has agreed to maintain the signs for their first “lifespan.” After that, a decision will be made about what to do with the signs.
(DECEMBER 18, 2020) After a year of work, the Great Falls Wayfinding Plan is complete and ready to be implemented. Wayfinding simply means providing directions and information to let people know what the community has to offer and how to get there. The city-wide directional program includes signage for both drivers and pedestrians to more than 40 destinations in town. The 116-page document includes design images for 63 motor signs, 17 pedestrian signs, and up to 10 digital kiosks.
“The digital kiosks will be a little more high tech. They’ll be in locations like the Civic Center and probably on the fairgrounds and folks will be able to have some interaction with those digital kiosks,” explained Joan Reeden with the Great Falls Business Improvement District.
While the signs will help visitors navigate town, they’ll also shed light on all the community has to offer.
“For me, this is going to provide a huge boost in self-esteem for our community. And I see that because there are individuals who live here, who have lived here for years, who still don’t know all the amazing and wonderful assets we have to offer and suddenly they’re going to see a sign and say I didn’t know that…we need to check that out,” Redeen said.
Redeen is working to secure more funding and grants. She hopes the signs can start being installed in the Spring of 2021.
By providing prominent, appealing signage, many who would otherwise simply travel through Great Falls or those who are not familiar with the area, will learn about the services, destinations and points of interest that are available. The wayfinding plan will help residents and visitors easily navigate the city and the surrounding area and readily find attractions and available services such as schools, healthcare facilities, museums & exhibits, public parking, public restrooms, parks, trails, galleries, library, city and county offices, police department, etc.
The plan cost just under $70,000. Implementation of the plan is expected to cost at least $80,000. Funding for the program came from a grant from the MT Department of Commerce’s Main Street Program, the Downtown Tax Increment Financing District, the Great Falls Business Improvement District, Visit Great Falls, the Downtown Development Partnership, Great Falls Development Authority, the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Downtown Great Falls Association. The BID contracted with Cushing Terrell in the creation of the plan.