Neighborhood Council Contest – Opportunity for Residents to Have Their Voices Heard

Community Transformation Grant Visual Preference Survey:

Great Falls has about 60,000 residents, and each person has ideas for how they would like their community to look. Decision making that involves community participation is very important, but is also very difficult. Since 2011, the City of Great Falls has invited the public to participate in meetings and provide their insights into the development of the Downtown Master Plan, the Growth Policy, and the Transportation Plan.

In an effort to allow residents to continue to have their voices heard, the Montana Public Health Association and the Cascade City-County Health Department developed a survey that provides an easy way for residents to get involved in how their communities grow, expand, and are enhanced to become safer and healthier communities. The Active Living Visual Preference Survey is easily accessible by visiting or, is completely anonymous, and only takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete.

What are some of the things that can make a community safer, more welcoming and healthier? In the language of the engineers who plan such things, they are called “treatments.” Many may consider treatments an odd word to describe how a sidewalk, road, or park can be improved to create a safer and healthier environment. With that in mind, the survey uses pictures of a few of these types of treatments (modifications) and asks which is preferred.

The benefits of this survey are many: it gives people an idea of what is possible, it provides community members an avenue to tell decision makers what they like, and the results will give the planning department an idea of what types of treatments are preferred in our County and the City of Great Falls. This survey was made possible through a small mini-grant that was received by the Cascade City-County Health Department and a small Community Transformation Grant that was received by the Montana Public Health Association.

Currently, 158 residents of Cascade County have responded to the survey. To help encourage participation and draw on people’s competitive spirit, the City of Great Falls will give special recognition to the Neighborhood Council area with the largest number of residents who respond. The survey will be open until 5 pm on January 31st. The winner of the Neighborhood Council contest will be announced, and the results of the survey will be presented at the next Council of Councils meeting on Tuesday, February 25th.

“We truly want the opinions of the residents who live and play in these communities, because they will be impacted the greatest.” Says Lee Nellis the Deputy Director of Planning & Community Development at the City of Great Falls.  He goes on to say, “we know that it’s sometimes difficult for people to make meetings, but we are hoping that this survey is an easier way for everyone to have their voices heard, and tell us what matters most to them!”

Please click below for the survey: