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Old 09-09-2008, 12:18 AM
 
162 posts, read 342,550 times
Reputation: 71

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As someone who has had to look at several Montana cities for a job transfer, I have been wondering what is the story behind Great Falls. I have been to Billings and Missoula, but not there.

Is there a reason this seems to be the only "large" city in the state that is not growing? The population is stagnant or gradually decreasing. Is something wrong with Great Falls?

Some posts I have read make it sound like a safe place with pretty good schools and reasonable prices. I know it gets kinda windy, but it is certainly not the worst weather in the state.

I know some have said that there aren't enough high paying jobs, but then people say that about every city in Montana.

Did something happen 10 or 20 years ago that determined Billings and Missoula would be the cities that would grow and Great Falls would not?

Do you think things can get better for Great Falls? Maybe it will get to the point where Great Falls will be the only place in Montana that poeple can afford with the way housing costs seem to be climbing in other parts.

As an outsider, I was just curious and looking for some insight.
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Old 09-09-2008, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
6,488 posts, read 7,480,582 times
Reputation: 1994
Well, as I said in some other post... growth bad; stable good. Growth means people getting pushed out and prices going up. Stable means same folks, same jobs, same prices all the time. What's not to like??

Yeah, you won't get rich without "growth". But when things are stable, you won't get poor if you didn't start that way, like happens when people get shoved aside by growth.

Anyway, that's my take on it. Myself, having lived in both stable and high-growth areas -- I'll take stable any day.
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Old 09-09-2008, 05:07 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
1,372 posts, read 1,277,121 times
Reputation: 573
Great Falls is a military/industrial town traditionally, and it suffered from the decline of Malmstrom Air Force Base and the decline of industry. It has a Rust Belt feel uncommon in that area of the United States, I guess you can also point its decline to the decline of the Great Plains in general.
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Old 09-09-2008, 06:29 PM
 
369 posts, read 953,882 times
Reputation: 252
Great Falls suffers from the similarity that has caused Butte, (once our largest city), to fail. The end of mining, smelters and industry. The military component of Great Falls, Malstrom AFB, will be largely gone in a decade as we consumate our death-wish and remove our nuclear deterent missile by missile. Putin is a force growing and we disband that which keeps him and his Soviet ancestors at bay. Pray for us.
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Old 09-16-2008, 06:25 PM
 
1 posts, read 4,443 times
Reputation: 11
After living in Helena for 20 years, and Kalispell for 4, Bozeman for 4, and growing up in, and coming back to, Great Falls two years ago, my take on the growth, or more like, lack of growth of Great Falls lies in the hands of the City/County board. It seems that any business that wants to come to Great Falls has to jump through many hoops, then is likely voted down in the name of preserving the integrity of the "mom and pop" stores and restaurants. Have these same board members driven downtown lately and counted all the empty storefronts?
Helena had the same mindset in their commission until just a few years ago when the voters made sweeping changes. Now Helena is growing, new businesses, a new mall in the works, chain restaurants that had been denied previous are open for business, and doing VERY well.
The voters of Great Falls need to vote in people who enjoy and work for change and expansion. Without them, the city will become stagnant and die.
Great Falls is a beautiful place with plenty of arts and entertainment. Diversity of cutures is brought here from the Air Force base. The people are friendly and quick to lend a helping hand to those in need. The Missouri river gives the oppurtunity of water recreation to our doorstep. There is room to grow in every direction. Politics is the only thing holding the city back.
Michele
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Old 09-17-2008, 03:22 AM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
6,488 posts, read 7,480,582 times
Reputation: 1994
Quote:
Originally Posted by shell618 View Post
After living in Helena for 20 years, and Kalispell for 4, Bozeman for 4, and growing up in, and coming back to, Great Falls two years ago, my take on the growth, or more like, lack of growth of Great Falls lies in the hands of the City/County board. It seems that any business that wants to come to Great Falls has to jump through many hoops, then is likely voted down in the name of preserving the integrity of the "mom and pop" stores and restaurants. Have these same board members driven downtown lately and counted all the empty storefronts?
Helena had the same mindset in their commission until just a few years ago when the voters made sweeping changes. Now Helena is growing, new businesses, a new mall in the works, chain restaurants that had been denied previous are open for business, and doing VERY well.
And what is happening to Helena's local character, what with the new mall, the new chain restaurants, the drive to become just like every other Californicated city in the west?? how many of the local businesses are no longer with us because of it, or have been forced to move into a mall just to get foot traffic?

If you know anything about the mall economy, you'll know why this WILL eventually kill that local stores -- they just can't pay what malls charge per square foot, which as it happens is about 10x what it costs for a storefront in an old downtown building, and if they raise prices enough to stay afloat, they can't compete with the bulk buying power of the chains. Either way, the local businesses are on their way to the financial morgue and the city is on its way to being yet another Yuppieville, indistinguishable from every other west-coast Yuppieville, where all the locals work for chain stores (and help send money out of the state -- or do you think those chains' owners spend their profits in Montana??), but none of them own their own business anymore.

No thanks, I'll take Great Falls' approach.
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Old 06-24-2012, 01:59 AM
 
5 posts, read 16,017 times
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Great Falls - the downtown core is a shambles, ( sex shops next to empty store fronts ) , No YMCA. Casinos , fast food chains and ***** bars on 10th ave, sandwhiched in between is a fairly mediocre Catholic university " The University of Great Falls " . There are no good restaurants in Great Falls! It's too expensive to start one! No good ethnic food restaurants.
This is a town that isn't " stable " it's dying. And nobody seems to get it. Only city in MT that didn't get grant money to improve bus/ transit system because it isn't growing. The folks like to complain about big government but have their hands out and are too afraid to challenge the local government to invite industry into the city. I can't be sure what the fear about growth is? Lots of people have preconcieved ideas about the evils of large (liberal or concervative ) cities OOOOh gangs, drugs .... Hey Great Falls you've got the problems associated with decay...
Huge methamphtamine problem. Huge substance abuse problems in general. Lots of marijuana, alcohol abuse. One of the worst cities in the nation for high speed car fatalities.
Medical community at each other's throats attracting really poor practioners.
Local character? are you kidding? Great Falls local character is bigotted ( this is a town where native Americans are mocked , and the N word is common )
Opportunities are limited for the young people, the schools are under funded.
What's right with Great Falls?
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Old 06-24-2012, 07:02 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
3,546 posts, read 3,173,964 times
Reputation: 3181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reziac View Post
And what is happening to Helena's local character, what with the new mall, the new chain restaurants, the drive to become just like every other Californicated city in the west?? how many of the local businesses are no longer with us because of it, or have been forced to move into a mall just to get foot traffic?

If you know anything about the mall economy, you'll know why this WILL eventually kill that local stores -- they just can't pay what malls charge per square foot, which as it happens is about 10x what it costs for a storefront in an old downtown building, and if they raise prices enough to stay afloat, they can't compete with the bulk buying power of the chains. Either way, the local businesses are on their way to the financial morgue and the city is on its way to being yet another Yuppieville, indistinguishable from every other west-coast Yuppieville, where all the locals work for chain stores (and help send money out of the state -- or do you think those chains' owners spend their profits in Montana??), but none of them own their own business anymore.

No thanks, I'll take Great Falls' approach.
It sounds like Helena has changed a lot since I was last there seven years ago. I thought it had plenty of character and a great downtown.

Now for my take on Great Falls. I agree that it is like Butte. Once the industry has died off there isn't much to keep the town around. Missoula and Bozeman have universities so they have that going for them and are also in "garden spots" of the state that are desireable to people moving into the state. Billings has always been sort of a hub for Montana and has that going for it. Helena is the state capital so will always have that going for it. Great Falls really does not have many of those things going for it that are mentioned above, other than it is a sort of hub for people up on the Hi-Line and some of the other surrounding areas who have nowhere else to shop.
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:22 PM
 
5 posts, read 16,017 times
Reputation: 16
If you know anything about the mall economy, you'll know why this WILL eventually kill that local stores -- they just can't pay what malls charge per square foot, which as it happens is about 10x what it costs for a storefront in an old downtown building, and if they raise prices enough to stay afloat, they can't compete with the bulk buying power of the chains. Either way, the local businesses are on their way to the financial morgue and the city is on its way to being yet another Yuppieville, indistinguishable from every other west-coast Yuppieville, where all the locals work for chain stores (and help send money out of the state -- or do you think those chains' owners spend their profits in Montana??), but none of them own their own business anymore.

No thanks, I'll take Great Falls' approach.


Are you joking? the economy in Great Falls is falling apart. Mall economy? Have you been to that mall? It's got as many empty store fronts as the downtown has.
How many gun shops, tatoo parlors, casinos and pawn shops will it take for you to get it - Great Falls is dying a slow, ugly death.
The loss of good paying jobs with benefits replaced by those service jobs? the nursing assistant jobs, the fast food jobs, janitor, hair stylist and manicure jobs?
How do you not see the dire effect of methamphtamine on this town?
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Old 06-25-2012, 12:44 AM
 
1,053 posts, read 2,564,953 times
Reputation: 529
Nearly 2/3 of Montana's counties lost population over the last decade. A startling figure. Most of the growth counties were in the scenic western and southwestern parts, with growth around Helena (capital) and Billings/eastern MT (oil) as well. Great Falls is suffering from what ails most of the state.
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