West Bank Park master plan improvements nearly complete

After years of work and coordinated funding support from a variety of sources, the first phase of improvements to West Bank Park is nearly complete.

A recent example is the slew of improvements in West Bank Park which will be completed this summer.

The Park and Recreation Department is currently recruiting volunteers to build a playground at West Bank through a $85,000 grant from KaBOOM!

The build is scheduled for Aug. 19 and will require 200 volunteers. Park and Rec is required to find 100 volunteers and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana is required to find the other 100.

Patty Rearden, interim Park and Rec director, said they’ve nearly reached those volunteers requirements already.

Want to volunteer, go to http://www.volunteergreatfalls.org/volunteer/events/display/build-a-playground/?event_id=38706

The volunteer requirement is aimed at community engagement, but to ensure safety, KaBOOM! is sending two certified playground inspectors and Park and Rec also has one on staff who will be on site for t

The city is also required to fundraise $8,500 to complete the funding of the play structure. Rearden said “we’re darn close” to raising that amount.

Want to donate, go to: https://www.gofundme.com/kaboom-playground-west-bank-park

A picnic pavilion is also slated to be installed by the fall in West Bank Park and that’s being funded with Community Development Block Grant Funds and by the People’s Park and Recreation Foundation.

The playground and pavilion will round out the first phase of improvements to the park that were detailed in the 2011 master plan for West Bank Park.

Improvements included in phase one were new restrooms, a parking lot, an Americans with Disabilities Act connection from 3rd Avenue Northwest to the River’s Edge Trail, sidewalk replacement, irrigation and landscaping (which also created a natural amphitheater), replacement of an existing vault toilet and concrete trail replacement.

In 2015, the city approved $460,000 in tax increment funds and Park and Rec combined those with $311,144 in grants; $49,830 from the River’s Edge Trail Foundation and $18,500 in city funds.

 

The park is in the Great Falls West Bank Urban Renewal Plan, which was created in 2007 and includes a TIF district.

In the TIF, taxes on development and improvement over a base level go into a fund that can be used on public infrastructure.