Great Falls one of 16 invited to formally apply for DOD grant for new aquatics facility

The City of Great Falls has been formally invited to submit a complete application for grant funding of up to $10 million toward a new, joint indoor aquatics facility with Malmstrom Air Force Base.

The city, in collaboration with Malmstrom, submitted a proposal for a new facility, which is an estimated $20 million project in June.

Commission votes to apply for $10 million federal grant for joint aquatics facility; use park district funds to match

The grant program is through the Defense Community Infrastructure Pilot Program administered by the Office of Economic Adjustment.

According to OEA, there were about 130 proposals received from communities nationwide and 109 were reviewed by OEA, a cross-military service panel, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense Review.

Of the 109 applications, 16 applicants were formally invited to apply for the funding.

Here’s the list of all applicants and those selected.

The Secretary of Defense will make a decision by Sept. 15.

Park and Rec updates: Contract awarded to fix trail slide; park projects continuing; more on proposed joint pool facility

On Aug. 10, City Manager Greg Doyon received a formal invitation to submit a complete application which is due by Aug. 26.

The application includes the scope, construction-ready status, validation of cost estimates, and status of funding sources contained in the initial proposal submission, as well as specific eligibility requirements, including site control and any required environmental analyses under the National Environmental Policy Act. Failure to meet these criteria may result in a reconsideration of the city’s proposal.

Under the grant rules, the facility must be owned by the city and for the proposal a property on 57th Street near the base’s 10th Street gate has been identified for the project. The facility would be outside the base gate and would be publicly accessible.

Doyon said in June that there are discussions regarding other potential properties but he wasn’t ready to mention them publicly yet since they are preliminary.

City continuing to pursue grant for joint, indoor pool with Malmstrom; local firms donate services for initial concept, application

There are also discussions between the city and Malmstrom for the city to acquire an adjacent parcel to the city’s piece in the conceptual plan, which may allow for more greenspace, a larger facility and other amenities.

The facility would improve quality of life for city residents and base families, fitness opportunities for airmen, as well as meet training needs for the helicopter crews at Malmstrom and also the C-130 crews of the Montana Air National Guard.

In June, the city began working with a joint LPW Architecture/TD&H Engineering design team who, among other local firms, submitted a proposal to the city for the preliminary design and engineering work and also donated their services for the grant application process, which was an estimated $18,500.

The city will put the full project design out to bid.

City, Malmstrom partnering for grant for potential new, joint indoor aquatics facility

It’s a tight timeline for the city to accept the grant if awarded in September and the work must start within a year of the grant award and be completed within five years.

Usage lower at smaller Mustang Pool; city still working on Natatorium replacement, demolition plans

The city closed the Natatorium at the end of 2018 and has been using the significantly smaller Mustang Pool at the Montana School for the Deaf and Blind for swim lessons and other aquatics programming.

Park and Rec progressing with park district projects; trail repairs; pandemic changes

If the city were awarded the DoD grant, the city would need to issue debt service for up to $10 million against the park maintenance district.

Currently, the park maintenance district assess $1.5 million annually and the city would use those funds from year three onward to cover the debt service payments.

Debt service scenarios for 15-year revenue bonds at 4 percent would be:

  • For a $5 million bond, the annual debt payment would be $450,000
  • For a $7 million bond, the annual debt payment would be $630,000
  • For a $10 million bond, the annual debt payment would be $900,000

The city will be required to manage, operate and maintain the facility without additional financial support from the Air Force, aside from standard user fees or partnership agreements, according to the city staff report.