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Rick Tryon

I am a community relations/government affairs consultant and digital communications specialist.

I can help you and your organization navigate and stay informed on the local issues, policies, and developments that affect you and your interests.

I can also provide technical assistance and expertise; assisting you in developing digital media solutions designed to give you top-of-mind awareness in your community.

We can do more in Great Falls

A lot of progress has been made recently in downtown Great Falls. There’s more that can be done and I am optimistic that we are continuing to make progress.

I walked around downtown for awhile after I played the Alive@Lunch venue last Friday and here are two observations I have.

1 – Do we need to revisit the loitering/panhandling laws downtown? I was approached twice for spare change in front of U.S. bank building. This was around 2:30 in the afternoon.

2 – There were not very many people downtown shopping, browsing, eating etc. Why? Parking? No anchor stores? Price and selection? I’ve visited and lived in towns of similar size where downtown’s were bustling to booming, day and night. What do we need to do better?

Quality AND quantity is what we need

So we’ve got a fairly high QUANTITY of jobs in Great Falls. It’s the QUALITY that we need to do something about because someone working 2 or 3 part-time, low wage, no benefit jobs to make ends meet is almost better off going on the dole. That’s part of the reason we have so much poverty in our town. And I say we need to “do something about” it because what we’ve been doing or not doing so far in this state and town probably needs some adjusting or overhauling.

We need to come together and work on these things imo:
1.) Grow our population by 5-15% over the next 5-15 years.
2.) Do more to create a regulatory/ordinance/policy environment to help local homegrown businesses expand and prosper.
3.) Be more aggressive in recruiting Fortune 500 companies to locate in Great Falls.
4.) Figure out how to raise income levels so that folks WANT to come here and can afford housing prices, especially rentals.

Great Falls City Commish Goal #1

Develop a visually appealing and culturally rich community.

That’s the first goal the Great Falls city commissioners list on their web site at http://www.greatfallsmt.net/citycommission/city-commission-visiongoals.

I love this goal, but again I wish we could be a little more specific. How should the city commission go about developing the visually appealing and culturally rich community we would all like to live in? What does “visually appealing” look like and which city components does it apply to? Residential neighborhoods? Commercial buildings? How far is the commission willing to go to allow regulation and city ordinances and code to control these aspects of development? Really, isn’t it the responsibility of the owners and builders of commercial and residential structure to decide what is visually appealing and in their best interest.

I think the “visually appealing” aspect of this goal should mostly pertain to city parks and other properties which the City of Great Falls has the responsibility to maintain. This distinction would help to more narrowly define Goal #1 and help determine where the city should focus its attention and efforts. What do you think

Goal #4 needs a little flesh on the bones

Goal #4 on the City of Great Falls website, http://www.greatfallsmt.net/citycommission/city-commission-visiongoals is to “Strengthen and diversify our economy to provide job opportunities.” Great goal but a little too general I think.

I wonder if the Commission would consider adding some flesh to those bones? Maybe outline a couple of more specific targets for that goal like this:

“Strengthen and diversify our economy to provide job opportunities by proactive commission involvement in recruiting Fortune 500 companies to Great Falls, with a view to increasing average income by 15% in 7 years.”

And also like this:

“Strengthen and diversify our economy to provide job opportunities by reducing city red tape so as to encourage expansion of existing local business to increase local full time jobs by 200 in 2 years.”

I’m sure there are many more ideas on how to really put some detail, benchmarks  and accountability in those city goals. I’d like to hear yours.



Great Falls Vision Statement & Goals

Here are the Great Falls City Commission Vision/Goals from the city web site. I think these are pretty good; they’re worthy goals and it’s a nice, though somewhat standard-issue  vision statement. I’d like to see the goals fleshed out a little with more specificity, some benchmarks with timelines and a few solid action steps for each. In upcoming blog posts I’ll take a crack at doing that and I hope readers will weigh in with their own ideas and comments.

“Our vision is that of a responsive local government strategically prepared for change and challenge. We will build partnerships throughout the community. We will be recognized for our efficient, effective and caring delivery of service and products. Nurtured and inspired by this vision, we will create a passion for excellence. Our core values of honesty, respect and openness will constantly guide our actions.

Our goals:

► Develop a visually appealing and culturally rich community.

► Manage growth to preserve our resources, environment, and sense of community.

► Provide excellent public services desired by the community within its financial means.

► Strengthen and diversify our economy to provide job opportunities.

► Anticipate future service needs, costs and resources, and plan ahead to address them.

► Form partnerships with other governments and organizations to make better use of public resources in providing services.

► Ensure open and accessible government.

► Build a stronger team of staff, elected officials, and citizens by transforming our organization to meet the changing needs of the community.

► Remain financially strong.

► Provide leisure and recreational opportunities which add to our quality of life.”

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  • Government affairs consulting
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