Downtown groups seeking proposals for wayfinding plan

The Business Improvement District in cooperation with the Downtown Development Partnership and the City of Great Falls, has released a request for proposals for a wayfinding plan for the city.

The DDP is planning to pursue a planning grant from the Montana Department of Commerce’s Montana Main Street Program for the development of a wayfinding plan. The city will provide grant administration and the BID will provide oversight of the project, according to the RFP.

Proposals are due Nov. 8 at 12:30 p.m.

Wayfinding project planned for downtown in effort to improve economic development, connectivity and tourism

The downtown organizations and the city have been discussing options for wayfinding plans for years but have had little success in securing a grant for the project so far. Officials and downtown groups have often said they’d prefer to develop an organized plan for the downtown area, or the entire city, versus piecemealing signage for things like parking.

The city earmarked $25,000 in 2017 from the downtown tax increment financing district toward wayfinding.

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“The need for a wayfinding plan in Great Falls stems from the challenges the city faces with connecting pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles with downtown Great Falls and adjacent destinations including the River’s Edge Trail, city parks and other community attractions,” according to the RFP. “To that end, the city intends to develop signage oriented to pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles.”

According to the RFP, the project goals are to establish clear and consistent signage that connects residents and visitors with downtown and the cultural, natural and recreational amenities; incorporate elements from the local tourism’s logo and branding efforts; incorporate a variety of sign types that reinforce the city’s sense of place and identity and give people an understanding of the city’s layout; and that comply with all applicable laws and regulations pertaining to signs.

The BID and DDP are not funded by city taxpayer dollars and

The goal of the BID is to maintain, beautify, and stimulate development in Great Falls’ historic downtown district.

The Great Falls BID was originally created in May 1989, recreated in July 1999. again in July 2009 and again this year.

State law allows for the creation of business improvement districts for the purpose of promoting the health, safety, prosperity, security and general welfare of the inhabitants of the district and to provide special benefit to the property owners located within the boundaries of said district.

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BIDs are established for 10 years under state law, but can be renewed.

The BID boundary has not changed since 1989 and there are 195 parcels within the boundary, including some owned by Cascade County and the City of Great Falls.

The Downtown Development Partnership is a 501c3 nonprofit and has 11 permanent members: Downtown Great Falls Association, Business Improvement District, Great Falls Development Authority, the city’s Neighborhood Council 7, City of Great Falls Parking Commission, City of Great Falls, Cascade County, City-County Historic Preservation Advisory Commission, Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, Great Falls School District 1 and NeighborWorks Great Falls.