An Open Letter To The Residents Of Great Falls
So I posted a question to Facebook the other day asking "Give us one reason to NOT move to Great Falls." It was for an article idea I had that was going to be a fun tongue in cheek list of reasons to not move here. Think "wind is bad" "we don't have an Olive Garden" type of reasons. I should probably have worded the question like so "Give us a funny reason to NOT move to Great Falls." Judging from the responses from the question I asked, it makes me wonder, "Do you guys even like Great Falls at all?" I know we get a bad rap in the state, getting called G-Funk and all, but is Great Falls REALLY that awful?
Your reasons why to not move to Great Falls
There were lots of reasons listed, and some of them were in the vein of "wind is bad" "no Olive Garden," but the majority of answers were the following 3.
Crime (Drugs), Wages, Housing
These are all valid reasons to not move to a place, and Great Falls does have an issue with crime (especially lately it seems.) I'm not going to claim to be smart enough to have all the answers but reports have said there can be a direct correlation to a reduction in crime with increases in wages. And there have been reports that state the exact opposite. It just goes to show how there is no magic solution when it comes to issues that plague Great Falls. That's the thing though, these issues aren't just Great Falls issues, they are issues that almost every city across America is dealing with.
The American Dream is DEAD
The younger generation isn't buying into the "American Dream" anymore, and why should they? It's become pretty evident that the cards are stacked against everyday Americans. Neither side in Washington TRULY cares about us. Sure they'll come around during election season and tout some bills they've voted for and how "they're fighting for us." When in reality all they are doing is keeping us fighting each other like crabs in a bucket. You then wonder if the increase in drug use or crime stems from a disillusionment of "why try" and then resorting to self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. To tie the death of the American Dream back to housing and home ownership, look at the gap in home ownership for 60 and 35 year old.
Just over half of 35 year olds own their own home, and it's getting harder and harder to do it every day. Only 42% of Americans think their kids will be better off then them. If you feel you can't afford a home, how can you think of starting a family and "buying in" to the American Dream?
The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same
Former President Trump ran on a platform of "You're being screwed by Washington" and it baffled "experts" that Obama voters, turned around and voted for Trump. When in reality, it was because they were never really left or right, Republican or Democrat. They were just average Americans that were promised "Hope and Change" then got the status quo. It's the same reason why plenty of Trump voters switched votes in 2020. They were promised something, nothing changed, and they hoped the new guy could do something. You then wonder if the increase in drug use or crime stems from a disillusionment of "why try" and then resorting to self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. Turning into a perpetual cycle of drug use and crime increasing.
So What Does This Mean For Great Falls Future?
Honestly I don't know. I mentioned earlier there is no magic solution. This is an issue that is wide spread and perhaps we need to rethink the whole system. For Great Falls, that starts with the city commission and the mayors office. I might not agree politically with someone like Rick Tryon, but he for years talked about issues with Great Falls, and instead of just sniping from the sidelines, he ran. I think we need people that don't come from an political ideology, but more of the "This town could be great, lets try and make that happen," type people. Worry less about the D or R next to someones name and more about "what will you do to improve Great Falls?" I've probably rambled on long enough here, but I just want to say, I think Great Falls is a great place. It's got warts and problems you bet, but we've got great teachers in our schools. The downtown is improving and being revitalized. We aren't far from almost any outdoor activity you would want to take part in. I think Mark Wilson sums up Great Falls the best from his comment on Facebook.
Crime is higher everywhere. Drugs availability is worse everywhere. Give me a house in Riverview. I'll eat at the westside Taco Treat, and get some Howard's Pizza from Aces Tavern every week. Sundays my family and I will drive to Cascade, maybe even Helena. Just for the view. Great Falls is an awfully pretty place to be stuck.
Keep scrolling to see some great reasons to love Great Falls 👇