Since it’s inception in 1980 NeighborWorks Great Falls has worked tirelessly to improve Great Falls’ neighborhoods and provide housing resources and opportunities for hard working families. NeighborWorks has removed over 500 blighted properties, replacing the blight with hundreds of new or renovated modest homes. NeighborWorks sat down with downtown resident and long-time NeighborWorks’ board member and advocate, Linda Daggett to get her perspective as a downtown resident.
Linda’s experience with downtown transformations began in 1974 with the purchase of her first Great Falls home in the heart of the original townsite. Linda and her husband, bought their first house for $7,500 with no intention of staying in the neighborhood. “It was where we could afford. We moved in with the intention of moving out of the neighborhood as soon as we could”. It wasn’t until 1980 when Neighborhood Housing Services (now NeighborWorks Great Falls) was created - that Linda and her husband began to see their block in a new light. “NeighborWorks Great Falls started taking interest in the original townsite. No other contractors would build down there because they didn’t think it was worth it. NeighborWorks was not only starting to build new homes, but fixing up old ones, repairing roofs, even helping to plant tulips”, said Linda. NeighborWorks’ investment began to drastically improve the neighborhood , and residents started to notice. Not many years later the Daggetts decided to upgrade, but instead of leaving the neighborhood as originally planned, they chose a bigger home just a few blocks down the road. “We knew the value of the neighborhood, it improved significantly because of the work NeighborWorks had done.”
While single family home construction has become increasingly difficult due to cost and other environmental factors, NeighborWorks revitalization focus remains constant. This year, working with local contractors, NeighborWorks began work on the former Kranz Floral property. What used to be a run-down (formerly flourishing) business, is now transformed into a row of new homes. Linda, who still lives in her southside home sees the impact NeighborWorks has made and continues to make. Referring to the now updated Kranz lots, Linda said “It just gives you a lift. The investment in downtown has made such a difference. I can’t imagine what the neighborhoods would look like without NeighborWorks.”
The Kranz property is located at the corner of 14th Street South and 3rd Ave South. Two out of the three homes have been purchased by first time homeowners. The middle home is available for purchase.
Pictured left: NeighborWorks next “Before”, 1006 4th Ave South. To see in interactive map of NeighborWorks’ work, visit: www.nwgf.org/about