Business Bites: Bright Eyes Cafe for sale; Precision Pilates and Yoga moving; Alluvion adds office space, plans Rocky Mountain Building project; mental health partnership created; city approves CDBG funds; Habitat breaks ground; NeighborWorks receives $500k toward affordable; Leadership Great Falls accepting applications; apartments under construction

Bright Eyes Cafe

Beth McKinney of Bright Eyes Cafe is seeking a new owner for the turn-key business. The cafe is listed at a negotiable $60,000 and interested parties should contact the seller for “full list of inclusions (equipment, decor, etc.) Wonderful landlord and neighbors.”

Alluvion Health

Alluvion Health has moved administrative staff into the space at 505 1st Ave. N. that was last occupied by Klover and is next door to Crooked Tree.

In March, the county approved a lease between the Cascade County City-County Health Department and Alluvion Health for Alluvion to use space in the CCHD building at 115 4th St. S.

County approves contract for jail roof project; road improvements; lease with Alluvion Health

The lease term is for April 1 through March 31, 2023 for $2,500 monthly plus 50 percent of utilities and operational expenses.

Trisha Gardner, county health officer, said Alluvion would be moving their womens health and pediatrics section into the CCHD building taking up the clinical area, three check-in windows and sharing spaces such as the breakroom, conference room and parking.

Alluvion pursuing EPA grant for Rocky Mountain Building cleanup

Last fall, Alluvion purchased the space at 111 Fifth Street North for a youth education center and is scheduled to close this week.

Alluvion put out the request for pre-construction services and conducted interviews this week with the final candidates, Trista Besich, Alluvion director told The Electric. They’ll notify the winning agency next week of their selection.

“We are in the process of formalizing the final pieces of funding for phase 1, which would be the clean-up, roof and structural repairs, with a fall project date,” she said.

Business Bites: Zandy’s demolition; Town Pump building car washes; 721 Central Avenue renovation; Alluvion Health buys more space

During their May 4 meeting, City Commissioners approved $185,725 of Community Development Block Grant COVID funds to Alluvion for the purchase of a mobile medical clinic , which will be a 25-foot vehicle designed by Matthews
Specialty Vehicles for COVID response.

It will have a location for intake/reception, lab work, a testing/vaccination area, as well as an onboard restroom facility. The mobile unit will be used to reach those that have accessibility barriers as well as many lower income housing facilities and complexes in Great Falls.

Discussions on Alluvion Health proposal for crisis response program ongoing

As a requirement of CDBG Funding, the mobile clinic will be utilized to provide healthcare response during the pandemic and will continue to provide healthcare response to low to moderate income persons after the pandemic is over.

Austin Hall elevator improvement

City Commissioners voted May 4 to approve a $300,000 request from the Great Falls Housing Authority for public housing modernization to the existing elevator in Austin Hall.

Austin Hall is designated as elderly/disabled housing which provides housing to 34 families in the community. The
current elevator is 40+ years old and previous inspections have noted that the systems that are in place are
antiquated and replacement parts are no longer available.

The need for accessibility is important for this facility as the use of stairs is not an option for some of the residents.

Parking fees

While making the transition to the city’s new parking software vendor, the vendor recognized that the city offers incentives to monthly permit holders who purchase their permits annually instead of month to month and has offered a lower monthly fee.

How to: A guide to the new pay stations in downtown

Under the current fee structure, there’s a $2.50 monthly fee, but the vendor has offered a $4 annual fee, or 33 cents per month, for those who purchase the annual permit. That’s a $26 savings to those users, according to a city staff report.

City Commissioners approved the change during their May 4 meeting.

Precision Pilates and Yoga

Precision Pilates and Yoga is expanding to a bigger space and adding services.

The specialty studio initially opened in the Columbus Center in August of 2020, but has since outgrown the space.

Leslie Steensrud, oner and pilates trainer, serves private clients and also makes the space available for other local practitioners to use and offer pilates and yoga services.

Steensrund is closing her studio on the third floor and they’ll be closed May 10-14 while she moves to the second floor in Suite 210 next to Saibeen’s. The new expanded studio will reopen and begin group classes on May 17.

Mental health partnership

Gateway Community Services and the Center for Mental Health have entered into an agreement to partner with the ultimate goal of creating a new organization that provides integrated primary care, substance abuse treatment and behavioral health services.

Gateway Community Services, a not-for-profit organization, provides outpatient addiction services to the residents of Cascade County, along with the Kalispell and Libby communities.

Mental health, crime focus of multiple agencies

The Center for Mental Health, a private not-for-profit organization, serves a broad spectrum of individuals with behavioral health, emotional, and physical challenges, both youth and adults, with their full continuum of care in behavioral health across 15 counties in northcentral Montana.

“A letter of intent has been signed by the governing boards of both organizations and an internal process to begin sharing a common electronic health records system is already underway. The ERS will allow the respective organizations to conduct seamless client referrals for integrated service delivery. Both organizations are committed to creating greater organizational efficiencies, providing an even higher quality of clinical care, while prioritizing the retention of existing employees,” according to a release.

While the governing boards and leadership of both organizations have signed a letter of intent, the process of combining specialties and expanding into the primary care arena will take at least a year to guarantee success, according to a release.

Employee committees will be formed to help connect employees and engage them in working together, merging organizational policies, and creating a name and brand for the new organization. Both the Center for Mental Health and Gateway want to create a new entity that will reflect the combined expanded services, according to a release.

There are no planned changes to the services being provided to existing clients. Currently, the Center for Mental Health has approximately 160 employees and Gateway has 31 employees.


NeighborWorks Montana has received a $500,000 program-related investment from the Otto Bremer Trust, in St. Paul, Minn., to support flexible and affordable financing for low- and moderate-income individuals and home development in Montana.

“We are grateful for the investment by OBT providing loan capital to support opportunities for homes Montanans can afford,” said Kaia Peterson, Executive Director, NeighborWorks Montana.  “Low and moderate income residents in the state of Montana are finding affordable rental and homeownership opportunities increasingly out of reach due to high housing costs and a lack of available housing.”

NeighborWorks Montana is growing its loan fund, where the program-related investment will be used to expand affordable housing opportunities.

The quality of life in Montana is high for those who can overcome the challenge of low local wages and the high cost of housing.  Wages are among the lowest in the nation and while the homeownership rate is relatively high in Montana at 67.5 percent, when comparing median housing value to median family income, the state ranks 42nd in the nation for affordability, according to a release.

NeighborWorks Montana has three primary borrowers: low- and moderate-income homebuyers; affordable housing developers preserving and creating affordable apartments and single-family homes; and residents of manufactured home communities acquiring their properties for resident ownership.

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity broke ground on their 41st home built in Great Falls since the affiliate started in 1991.

All Habitat homes are built in partnership with the selected families and volunteers. To volunteer call 406-308-9038.

In July,Habitat will break ground on Houses 42 and 43.

Information on how to apply for a Habitat home is here.

Habitat for Humanity builds two to three homes annually in partnership with low income families in the Great Falls community. Families must fall between 30 percent to 60 percent of median average income, contribute 500 hours to the building of their home and take on a 30-year, no-interest mortgage before moving in.

Leadership Great Falls

Leadership Great Falls applications are open through the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.

Applications are due June 15 and can be emailed to Taylor.

Farran Group apartments

Dirt is moving for the 216-unit apartment complex that was approved in 2016 at the corner of Division Road and Smelter Avenue Northwest.

The developer, Farran Realty Partners, the same company that built the Talus Apartments south of Benefis Health System, is planning the 216 apartments in a six building complex on 9.2 acres.

The city received applications for building permits on Dec. 30. According to city planning staff, their office issued review comments and the developer is preparing a revised permit application.

The proposed design for a 216-unit apartment complex for the corner of Division Road and Smelter Avenue Northwest was approved in 2016, but went back to the Design Review Board in 2017 due to a major change in the layout and building configuration.

Here’s background on the project: Ignite 2021 highlights local business, development

Updated design of 216-unit apartment complex approved by city board