Traffic Signal Box Project 2011

The Great Falls Business Improvement District (BID) is pleased to announce the installation of its first Traffic Signal Box (TSB) Project.  The event began on Friday, August 19th and ended on Wednesday, August 24th.    The TSB’s on Central Avenue from Park Dr. to 7th St (with the exception of the corner of Central and 4th St S) and one additional TSB at the corner of 2nd Ave S and 2nd St were transformed into works of art by seven local artists. Within the BID boundaries there are 21 TSB’s; seven have been completed this season with the goal of completing the remaining 14 over the next few years.

There will be a reception held for the artists on Friday, September 2nd in the BID office at 13 5th Street North.  Everyone is welcome to attend the reception.

The artists chosen for the 2011 TSB Project, their locations and the title of their work:
Sheree Nelson – Central & Park Dr  “Electric City”
Halley Gallagher – Central & 2nd St N  “Emergence”
Alissa Nelson – Central & 3rd St N  “Take a Picture, It’ll Last Longer”
Vickie Meguire – Central & 5th St N  “Old Cascade County Courthouse”
Jennifer Mathson – Central & 6th St N  “Gibson Park”
Katy Lunstad – Central & 7th St N “Revamped”
Rachel Kaiser  – 2nd Ave S & 2nd St “Downtown Great Falls”
This program is part of our ongoing efforts to continue beautification in Downtown Great Falls. The Traffic Signal Box (TSB) Art Project enhances the pedestrian and driving experience by incorporating artwork directly into the streetscape.

The event coverage:

KFBB Coverage of the event

KRTV coverage of the event

Great Falls Tribune coverage of the event

Be sure to check out the photo album posted on our Facebook page as well – “Like” Destination Downtown Great Falls

Traffic Signal Box Art Project 2011

Of course we encourage you to come downtown and check out the artwork for yourself!



Rocky Mountain Building art project

The Great Falls Business Improvement District (BID) is pleased to announce another downtown art project.  To continue our beautification efforts downtown the BID has partnered with local artist Julia Becker to paint the boardwalk around the Rocky Mountain Building on the corner of 6th Street and Central Ave.  Julia is coordinating with nine additional artists; each artist will work on a 26-foot long area of the boardwalk as well as collaborate together and with additional artists/participants.  The finished project will be a celebration of community and art and improve the appearance of the Rocky Mountain Building.

The event is scheduled to take place all day on Sunday, July 10th.

The event coverage:

KFBB coverage of the event

Great Falls Tribune coverage of the event

KRTV coverage of the event

Be sure to check out the photo album posted on our Facebook page as well – “Like” Destination Downtown Great Falls

When all was said and done, 21 artists participated in the process!

Of course we encourage you to come downtown and check out the artwork for yourself!

Update: 7/13/11 Our little story got picked up by a national blogger –

The Commercial District Advisor


Downtown Business Watch 7/12/11

Downtown Business Watch Program

WHERE:             NeighborWorks Learning Center at 509 1st Ave South

WHEN:               Tuesday, July 12th 5:30pm to 6:30pm

TOPIC:                Cybercrime

SPEAKER:         Justin Jones, Certified Ethical Hacker

SPONSOR:         Charlie’s Coffeehouse

Come to the Downtown Business Watch program!

The Downtown Action Alliance has created a Downtown Business Watch program.  Meetings will be held every other month and will last one hour.  The meeting format has been established to allow for a 30-minute presentation on a specific topic, 15 minutes for questions & answers on that topic and closing with 15 minutes of discussion on current downtown issues.  Refreshments will be served, compliments of our monthly sponsor.  If you have any questions regarding this event please contact the BID office at 727-5430.


The Tribune’s recent editorial on Downtown Great Falls

Have you been working out?

It’s the kind of thing anyone who’s spending time at the gym or pounding the pavement is usually pleased to be asked.

It confirms that the Zumba class, an extra mile on a daily walk or new weight-lifting routine is making some improvement and that people notice the difference.

So it’s with admiration that we say: Downtown Great Falls, you’re looking good.

Certainly the construction of a new Public Drug building in the 300 block is the most noticeable. It’s great to see framework beams going up in what had been a vacant lot after the B&B Loan fire several years ago.

The Tap House Grill is almost ready to reopen and The Crooked Tree Coffee & Cakes over on 1st Avenue North will be a nice addition.

But there’s a lot going on downtown in addition to the aforementioned brick and mortar projects.

We take issue with critics, including those who have recently expressed such opinions on this page, who say the city’s core is letting itself go.

So does a longtime downtown business owner Rick Enge, whose shop, The World of Time, opened downtown 33 years ago.

“I’m an old time downtown person,” he said. “I started working at Kaufmans (Menswear Centre) when I was in high school. We call ourselves the Kaufmans alumni.”

He’s earned his stripes when it comes to pitching in to make downtown great. He runs a business, owns the building it is in and even plants and cares for flowers front of World of Time every year.

“I do think downtown looks nicer now than it did, say, 10 years ago, with the streetscape projects,” he said. “Last year the Business Improvement District replaced some of the trees that had died, which is great.”

The BID also is paying for a downtown ambassador, Justin Redeen, to help out this summer. In addition to helping direct people to places to shop, dine and recreate downtown, Redeen is charged with keeping the area’s sidewalks clean and watering the flowers in hanging pots and planters in the district.

The latter hasn’t been the easiest task — the BID is working to remedy a lack of portable equipment available to water the flowers, but in the meantime Redeen fills a plastic trash container with water that sits in the back of a pickup and drives around downtown to nourish the plants.

“I told my mom I probably will never plant flowers at my own place,” said Justin, who will be a senior at the University of Montana-Missoula this fall majoring political science. His mom, Joan, is the office manager for the BID.

Although it’s understandable that Justin is a little watering weary, we’re pretty sure he’ll rescind his vow to ban flowers from his future abodes. For one thing, he’s darn good at caring for the ones he’s charged with summer. They are beautiful.

Enge will give the hanging basket of flowers placed near his store by BID a drink when he’s watering his own planters, “but more often than not just when I think they look like they need one, I look out and there’s water dripping from the basket on the sidewalk because Justin’s been by. He’s got a little bit of a height advantage on me, too, so it’s easier for him.”

Justin’s tall stature also came in handy last week when he led a team of 15 Boys & Girls Club members and their two counselors through downtown to weed, water flowers and sweep sidewalks.

Member of the Club called the BID to volunteer to do community service projects.

“I thought it was great to see them all working downtown in their blue and green T shirts, with the downtown Great Falls logo,” said Enge. (The shirts were provided by BID, and the kids were thrilled.) “I think it helps make them all more aware of what downtown has to offer and the kind of work it takes to keep downtown looking nice.”

It takes a lot of collective effort by property owners, business proprietors, downtown promoters, public servants and community volunteers.

So again, to downtown and all of your vested partners, we say, you are looking good and we appreciate and notice the work you put in to make that happen.

To view the article click here


The Boys & Girls Club has ‘The Club’ kids volunteering downtown this summer

KRTV Coverage –

More than a dozen children from the Boys & Girls Club have committed to help clean up downtown Great Falls every Tuesday for six weeks during the summer.

One of them, Karlee Palagi, says that volunteering is fun, telling us, “Just hanging out with my friends and just making downtown look more pretty.”

Justin Redeen, the “downtown ambassador” for the Great Falls Business Improvement District, is pleased with how smoothly everything is going.

Redeen said, “It’s really important because a vibrant downtown is key to any community and it lets you know that the community is doing well, thriving.”

To view the video click here

KFBB Coverage –

You may have seen the new Downtown Great Falls Ambassador sporting his blue shirt as he makes his rounds, but now he has a few helpers.

For the next six Tuesdays members of the Boys and Girls Club will complete community service projects downtown.

Tuesday, they swept up on the corner of 3rd Street and 1st Avenue South in anticipation of Thursday’s Alive @ 5 event.

Volunteer August Rodriguez says he sees the value in helping out. “People need clean sidewalks,” he explained. “A biker could hit one of these rocks and be injured. I like volunteering because I get to be with my friends and I like outside.”

While one group was busy sweeping, a second headed out to do some light landscaping upkeep, pulling weeds and keeping hanging flower baskets watered on this sunny day.

To view the video click here

Great Falls Tribune Coverage –

Members of The Club, a teen program at Boys & Girls Clubs of Cascade County, are looking for opportunities to do good in Great Falls.

The Business Improvement District is an entity devoted to making the downtown area of Great Falls more inviting for businesses and patrons.

So when the leaders of The Club called the BID looking for a project, Joan Redeen, the office manager, was ready with a list.

About 15 club members showed up Tuesday with brooms, gloves and trash bags.

“They helped out by sweeping the area where Alive@5 will be this week and doing some badly needed weeding,” Redeen said.

The Club is for kids roughly 11 years old to 18, and its mission is to provide opportunities for positive interaction with the community through service projects, said Jessica Stroop, a youth development professional.

“The kids also do some mentoring with younger kids,” she said.

John Silva, 16, will be a junior at Great Falls High School in the fall. This summer he is taking English in summer school, and he decided to join The Club “to have something to do.”

Last week, members helped bundle wooden tokens that were for sale at Taste of Great Falls.

“It’s been fun, and it keeps me busy,” Silva said.

To view the article click here


Traffic Signal Box Art Project 2011

The Great Falls Business Improvement District (BID) is pleased to announce a new program for local artists interested in design and installation of public art on selected traffic signal boxes within the BID boundaries.  The program is part of an effort to continue beautification in Downtown Great Falls. The Traffic Signal Box (TSB) Art Project enhances the pedestrian and driving experience by incorporating artwork directly into the streetscape.

The Traffic Signal Box Art Project is a public art opportunity open to all artists residing in Cascade County.  Artists who wish to participate can review the Call to Artists for the specific requirements.  The Call to Artists can be picked up at the BID office located at 13 5th Street North.  Emerging artists are encouraged to apply.

The Call to Artists is being made public on Wednesday, June 1st.  The submission deadline for artists to be considered for the project is Friday, July 8th. The installation of the project will take place Friday August 19th through Wednesday August 24th.

For the Call to Artists click here

See Traffic Signal Boxes Around the world


Letter From Montana Governor Schweitzer to New Ambassador

This little bit arrived in our mail today. Needless to say we’re excited about Justin Redeen being recognized by our Governor! (see image below)




Ambassador hired for Great Falls Business Improvement District

Justin Redeen, Ambassador, Great Falls BID

“A young man clad in royal blue will soon be a regular sight in downtown Great Falls.

Justin Redeen started in the newly created position of ambassador for the Business Improvement District on Monday.

As the community ambassador, Redeen will spend his days taking care of the flowers planted downtown and keeping sidewalks clean. He also will be on hand to answer question from visitors and locals about things to do, places to eat and where to find things downtown. Additionally, he will attend downtown events, where he will represent the BID.”

Read the full article on Justin at the Great Falls Tribune Online (or download archived PDF)


Downtown Action Alliance

The BID’s work plan notes that we will take the lead in joining with other development organizations to coordinate improvement efforts in Downtown Great Falls. In an effort to move on this goal the BID was instrumental in implementing the Downtown Action Alliance. This committee is comprised of representatives from the Great Falls Business Improvement District (BID), Great Falls Development Authority (GFDA), Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, City of Great Falls, Downtown Great Falls Association (DGFA), Convention Visitor’s Bureau (CVB), NeighborWorks, Neighborhood Councils and Historic Preservation. The Committee meets at the NeighborWorks Learning Center on the 4th Wednesday of each month. Notes from those meetings will be posted here. The mission statement of the Downtown Action Alliance is to capitalize on our collective resources to create a vibrant downtown through good communication and collaborative actions. These organizations have all committed to work together to continue the improvement of Downtown Great Falls.
Please add the following paragraph immediately after the above information:
The Downtown Action Alliance will kick-off a Downtown Business Watch program on Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 5:30pm in the NeighborWorks Learning Center. Business Watch meetings are scheduled for the 2nd Tuesday of every other month. Topics will include Personal Safety; Merchandising Layout & Shoplifting Prevention; Gangs & Drugs; Checks, Credit Cards & Currency Fraud as well as other future topics to be determined. These meetings are scheduled to last one hour with the following format: 30-minute presentation on the topic; 15-minute question & answer session in regard to the topic; 15-minutes for discussion on current downtown issues. Meetings are open to the public; everyone is invited and welcome to attend. Refreshments will be served.
Business Watch Brochure
Business Watch Meeting Schedule and Topics
Great Falls Business Improvement District
13 5th Street North
Great Falls MT  59401
(406) 727-5430
(406) 727-5431 FAX



The BID applied & was approved for a CTEP Grant with the City of Great Falls in the summer of 2009.  This grant will be utilized to do a streetscape project on the Southside of the 200 block of 1st Avenue South.  Construction on this project is expected to begin sometime during the 2011 construction season.  There are four blocks within the BID on 1st Avenue South.  The goal of the BID is to complete a streetscape project for the entire four blocks by doing one-half block at a time, based on available CTEP funding and approval.  The BID plans to apply for CTEP funds each year until the entire four-block streetscape project is complete.