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Posted on June 17, 2022 at 8:47 AM by Bryan Obenchain
As a community, we have seen a tremendous amount of success over the past four years and I believe we are on the path of growing forward. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as Minot’s mayor during that time.
We, as a community, have seen significant gains and investment in the quality of life with projects such as the Magic City Discovery Center, a new public high school, a Career & Technical Education Center, recreational businesses opening their doors, and pathways taking shape within our flood control system.
The number of new businesses opening their doors is a sign of success in our community. The downtown revitalization has transformed the atmosphere of the heart of our community, with much more to come. Minot’s intermodal facility on our northeast side is opening up markets to the world not just for our agriculture producers but for the opportunity for manufacturing and processing on a level not seen since the early days of the railroad when it came through in the late 1800s.
Private investment in development and redevelopment is also showing signs of significant prosperity, including the Big M by Epic project that will remake the Big M building into an integral part of downtown. The planned mixed used development called The Tracks by Epic on Minot’s southwest side shows a continued commitment to improving the live, work, and play mentality that exists outside of downtown.
The infill of new businesses along our Broadway corridor is a signal that our infrastructure investment is paying dividends. Minot North High School exemplifies the community’s commitment to exceptional education. By passing the bond proposal last December, Minot will not only have a new high school but an additional middle school downtown as the Magic City Campus will transition to a grades 9-12 education model to meet the demands of the ever-increasing class sizes.
The Mouse River Enhanced Flood Protection Project continues to move forward as we secured federal dollars for Phase 5 along Railway Avenue and Phase 4 (Maple Diversion) with help from multiple partners, notably Sen. John Hoeven. Our relationships with our local, state, and federal partners have been and will continue to be key in getting this project completed by 2035 rather than 2042.
My time spent with the great men and women who serve our country at Minot Air Force Base has been very special to me. The role that MAFB plays not only in our local community but also in the country and world cannot be understated. Working with 5th Bomb Wing Commander Col. Michael Walters and former Commander Brad Cochran through the pandemic was especially important as we each had important missions to accomplish while strategizing the path to emerge stronger on the other side of the ordeal. We did emerge stronger and for that, I am thankful.
I must say thank you to the City of Minot staff that I worked with over these past four years. Their hard work and dedication to the community makes Minot a better place to call home. All of our community partners that came together over this time shows that we are a connected community working in the same direction for the betterment of Minot and the region.
Leading and being a decision-maker is not easy. No matter what decision is made, there will be a person or a group of people that disagrees with it. I balanced my thought process on the premise of “what is best for the community.” I hope what was best for the community is evident by the all the great things that have been moving forward these past four years.
While I may not be mayor after June 28, I will still be active and engaged in the community. I wish all the best for the mayor-elect and the City Council. Their success is the community’s success and that is what’s important.
Sincerely, City Hall
You can find more about what’s happening at the City of Minot at minotnd.org, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. We’d also encourage you to sign up for our monthly electronic newsletter on our website.
Posted on June 2, 2022 at 4:31 PM by Bryan Obenchain
It’s been a long time coming, but construction of a fifth fire station in Minot is under way. And that means it’s time for a groundbreaking.
The event will take place on June 6 at 4 p.m. at 2611 4th Ave. NW, the site of the new station. Dirt work at the site has been taking place for a couple weeks now, but it’s important that we take a moment to not only officially recognize the beginning of this project, but to remind ourselves of the impact Fire Station 5 will have on our entire community and specifically on northwest Minot.
The importance of constructing Fire Station 5 in this location cannot be overstated; this site was selected and purchased by the City of Minot years ago for this specific purpose. It will allow firefighters improved access to the entire northwest portion of the city, with immediate proximity to the bypass to quickly reach other destinations. Currently, the closest fire stations to northwest Minot are Station 1 on 20th Avenue SW, Station 2 on Third Street SE, and Station 3 on the west edge of the Minot Municipal Airport property. The lack of a fire station closer to northwest Minot been a concern for those residents for years, and rightly so.
Fire Station 5 will help address those concerns. In the firefighting business, every second matters. Arriving at the scene of a fire even 30 seconds faster can mean the difference between saving a structure and losing it. It can also be a matter of life and death. Literally. With the growth we’ve seen in northwest Minot and the continued expansions we expect to see in the future, the addition of Fire Station 5 is crucial to expanding our scope of fire protection.
Just think of the changes we’ve seen in northwest Minot in the past decade. New businesses have continually sprung up on north hill since the 2011 flood, including a major new complex that includes a grocery store, convenience store, and a variety of other businesses. The number of residents calling north hill home has grown tremendously in the past decade, with various apartment complexes and single-family dwelling projects popping up all over north hill.
The Minot Public School District is fully committed to northwest Minot, with the new Erik Ramstad Middle School built following the flood of 2011 and the new Minot North High School in progress just off 21st Avenue NW. There are also elementary schools in northwest and southwest Minot in close proximity to the new fire station that will benefit from having improved fire protection.
There’s also another potential future benefit for Minot residents once the new station becomes operational next summer. The city currently holds a Class 2 rating with the Insurance Services Office, which rates municipalities in the United States on a scale of 1 to 10. An ISO Class 1 rating is the most effective from an insurance perspective; of the approximately 50,000 fire departments inspected nationwide, only 411 have achieved a Class 1 rating. In recent years, Minot joined the roughly 1,243 other fire departments in the United States that have achieved a Class 2 rating. A new fire station could help Minot achieve an ISO Class 1 rating, which has the potential to lower insurance premiums for homeowners and business owners.
We’d love to have members of the community join us on June 6 for the groundbreaking ceremony, as we celebrate the beginning of this long-awaited and necessary improvement to our community’s fire protection. The community has long supported this project, and we appreciate the patience of residents who have been waiting for this day to come. We’re proud to become a member of this northwest Minot neighborhood, and we look forward to serving and protecting our residents from this new location starting next year. I hope to see you on June 6.
Posted on May 18, 2022 at 4:47 PM by Bryan Obenchain
Seven years later, we look back on May 15, 2015, as an important date in the history of downtown Minot.
Why? That’s the day construction began on the three-year, approximately $34.75 million Downtown Infrastructure Improvement Project. That’s the day concrete in part of the intersection of Third Street NE and East Central Avenue was removed to begin installation of new underground infrastructure. Of course, over the next three years, the work in that initial intersection expanded to some 26 City blocks, including everything from roads, curbs, gutters, storm sewers, sanitary sewer lines, sidewalks, benches, and trees.
The project’s numbers are impressive, and stand as a testament to the physical transformation of the infrastructure, both above ground and below, in that section of Minot:
And those numbers don’t include the new features in the project that helped improve the functionality, walkability, and overall aesthetics of downtown, such as new crosswalks, benches, flower beds, and trees. But the numbers alone simply do not tell the entire story of this generational project. Not by a long shot.
This three-year infrastructure project was about more than just the physical changes that occurred on those 26 blocks of downtown. The project was also about investing in the future of our community as a whole. It was about making improvements to help secure the growth of a key segment of our local business community. It was about solidifying vital, but often unseen, infrastructure components necessary to provide for the day-to-day sustainability of a business district that was ripe for growth.
If you build it, they will come (apologies to Field of Dreams).
The seeds of progress that were planted downtown seven years ago are now bearing fruit. The investment made through this project by the City of Minot and its partners is paying dividends for not only the downtown business owners, but for the customers who visit the stores, restaurants, and other businesses in that section of our community.
Downtown Minot is growing and prospering, just as was envisioned in 2015 when the infrastructure project began, and again when the project celebrated its ribbon cutting in October 2017. The new and improved infrastructure literally laid the groundwork to help facilitate the changes we’re now seeing in downtown Minot. Then, private investment took over and led the charge to even more change.
Those physical changes have been very visible in the years since the project was conceived, constructed, and completed. New uses have been found for previously unused buildings. Existing businesses have expanded. New businesses have opened. A program to create streateries and parklets was created and is being used. A program to extend financial support for businesses to improve the façade on their buildings saw a major approval at this past City Council meeting.
Perhaps more importantly, the atmosphere in downtown has changed for the better. With new and expanded local businesses, the vibe in downtown Minot has improved in the past few years. Positive things continue to happen in downtown, through private investments and public/private partnerships that are working together to restore the charm and significance of what was already a beautiful and historic business district.
Certainly, the three-year project brought with it inconveniences and challenges for business owners and customers alike. It wasn’t easy. The everyday struggles of managing a small business were exacerbated by heavy machinery, temporary water systems and walkways, and the general frustrations that come with such a massive construction project. But we believe it was worth it.
At the City, we’re proud to be part of the changes happening downtown, and we’re anxious to move into our new City Hall when renovations on the former Wells Fargo building are complete in the next year or so. We’re proud to have played a role in downtown’s transformation through the Downtown Infrastructure Improvement Project. And to think it all started with a little digging in an intersection seven years ago.