Josh Wolsky

We Did No Harm, And Look What Happened!

Sometimes, all we have to do to create something, is not destroy something. It’s not a complicated idea, but it is – apparently –  not a commonly understood one, either.

It’s also one we need to be reminded of from time to time. This is one of those times.

There’s a story from three years ago that you never heard. The reason you didn’t hear it is because the bad, newsworthy story never materialized. The destruction was stopped before the damage started.

Three years ago, when the downtown portion of flood protection was being designed, the project engineers and City of Minot officials decided the properties at 25 Main Street North and 28 Main Street North were required to build the project. The plan was to take those properties by agreed sale or eminent domain if required.

At the time, I was working for the Downtown Business and Professional Association as a contracted interim director. With the support of the D.B.P.A. Board, we stood up against those designs. We stood up against that idea that the only way the project could be built was by taking and destroying. At first we spoke to project engineers, but our message fell on bureaucratic ears. So we took our argument directly to our elected officials. The vote was close, but the Council agreed with us. They said, in effect, we’re not taking anything. We’ll find another way to build it.

Today, the Council and everyone in Minot is being rewarded by that decision. Today, you’re welcome to enjoy lunch or dinner at the Depot and Baggage Claim restaurant. It is served and enhanced by the parking lot to the North that was never taken. Across the street at 28 North Main, people are literally lining up to get into the Uglee Box Retail. It’s a new take on discount retail that’s equal parts a good deal and a treasure hunt. 

In those successes, there’s a lesson for us. Both businesses found their homes because of what wasn’t taken. Both businesses found their homes because of what wasn’t destroyed. Today, both businesses are creating jobs, generating sales tax, paying property tax, and all of that is to all our benefit.

And with the City’s recent actions at the Nok Back Tavern and yet another plan to demolish an unneeded building, it seemed like we needed a reminder.

Congratulations to the owners of The Depot and Baggage Claim and the Uglee Box Retail. Thank you for investing and taking a risk in Minot!

Josh Wolsky

Developer & Writer @TheMinot Voice, Fan of the Souris River, SavorMinot Advocate. Fortunate to be a 'former' City Council member ;)

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