In partnership with Malmstrom Air Force Base, the city of Great Falls has submitted a Defense Community Infrastructure Program grant proposal for the construction of an indoor aquatics and recreation facility.
The facility would meet community recreational and aquatics needs. The facility would also fill unmet training needs for airmen from Malmstrom Air Force Base and the Montana Air National Guard. The facility will be owned and operated by the Great Falls Park & Recreation Department and located on city property.
We talked with Steve Herrig, the director of the Great Falls Parks & Recreation, and he tells us Great Falls has a significant need for something like this: "It is because currently, there is not an indoor public pool. That's just one piece of it. One piece is basketball court time, everybody is looking for it, we have the one court at our rec center currently which is an older building as well, but again it's a far cry from what we need."
He continued, "So far we've submitted a proposal, what we plan to do, it would meet our swim lessons needs, our open swim laps swim, and other recreational needs, some basketball courts and classrooms and fitness area. Plus, it would meet Malmstrom and the Montana Air Guard airmen training needs that they currently don't have because right now, they're the only northern base without an indoor facility to train at. Plus it would also enhance the quality of life for the airmen, their families, and the community."
If the proposal is accepted, the city will submit a grant application with the final notification of approval by September 30, 2020. If the grant is approved, the city would have one year from September 30, 2020 for design and ground-breaking. Construction would follow over the next year or so. A firm timeline has not been set yet. It's roughly 50,000 square feet and will be located on the east side of town.
If the grant application is successful, the Department of Defense would match 50% of the construction costs. The City would fund the remaining 50% through the Park District Number 1 funding.