Over the past year, Minot’s been host to a ton of conversation about downtown. Both the future of the area and its role as a part of our larger economic engine feature significantly in the City’s International Economic Development Council report delivered last summer.
Applecart-upsetting, table-turning, they’re both adjectives that could be used to describe the some of the recommendations in the IEDC report. Taking those recommendations to heart and implementing them through a series of loosely connected governments and organizations is a challenge. Ask yourself, how much you enjoy big changes in short periods?
But change we must. And if there’s ever been a call to action that points to why that change is so important, it’s in the Bismarck Tribune article linked here. From the article, Bismarck’s downtown association has hired a consultant to identify what’s missing in their downtown. There are other steps being taken, too.
It’s a clear sign that Minot is on the right path; it’s also a sign that we’re in competition. And the prize that we’re (communities like Minot) all out to win in this new game — it’s people. In the past, we needed jobs. Now we have jobs, but we don’t have people to fill them. Our labor shortage is the biggest choke point in our local economy. And how do you attract people to fill our jobs? One answer often offered is ‘quality of life’; the methods that deliver it are much more in dispute.
Whatever your opinion on the above, it’s clear by the City of Minot’s direction that we’re going to see a continued focus on downtown. That means we should take heed of the steps taken by those communities around us that are dealing with similar challenges. It also means we should appropriate their good ideas.
In that spirit, I’m inviting the conversation on what’s missing in downtown Minot. Downtown is a living place, but maybe it doesn’t have that special something that gets you down there. Or maybe it needs a few more things to keep you down there longer. And if it already has everything you love, that doesn’t mean it can’t be better.
So, please take a minute and share your comments below. What’s downtown missing that would get you down there or keep you down there a little more? Is it a store, a restaurant type, a place of entertainment? Let’s start the conversation and see what we come up with — maybe some crazy entrepreneur will get grab hold of a good suggestion and make it happen!
And please do comment below; we’ll be taking these suggestions and incorporating them into a more formal survey.