Quarterly Update from Minot Mayor Chuck Barney

I want to take this opportunity to update the citizens of Minot on some of the ongoing projects in our city. I plan to write a similar update about once per quarter to keep you informed during this incredible and exciting period of growth we find ourselves heading into in 2015.

We will begin construction on a federally funded hazard mitigation project next year that will protect the water treatment plant in the event of another flood disaster. Phases I through III of the Mouse River enhanced flood protection plan are in the city’s Capital Improvement Plan for the years 2015-2019, and work takes place on a daily basis to secure the necessary funding and permits to see that this work begins as soon as possible. I have met with the governor, local legislators and our United States congressional delegation in order to stress the importance of seeing our plan through, and I’m confident that we will have help in seeing this massive project become a reality in the near future. But keep in mind, it is arguably the single biggest project to ever take place in the area, and it will be more than a decade and a half before it is complete. We still have a long way to go to recover from the flood of 2011. City staff and council members have been working diligently with valley residents to clean up blighted homes and areas this past year. Infrastructure that was damaged during the flood has been repaired, but minor issues with damaged infrastructure still linger. The City Council included $500,000 in the 2015 budget to continue the mitigation of blighted homes.

The population increase since 2010 is almost as many people as the entire 50 years prior. The influx of new residents is fantastic for our community, and we welcome all who have come to make our city a better place. But fast growth presents unique challenges, and we are working to address the many challenges we face. We will soon begin a downtown revitalization project that will replace the 75- to 100-year-old underground infrastructure. Twenty-six blocks of infrastructure in the downtown will be reconstructed over the next three years to improve water, sewer, sidewalks, streets and more. It will be a challenge for business owners and residents of the downtown area, but in the end, we will be the envy of the state when it comes to our thriving and inviting “Heart of Minot.”

As most citizens are aware, there have been several issues with the construction of the two downtown parking structures. City leaders and staff have been working closely with the developer and contractor to come up with a solution that will get the projects back on track. The main goal is to get them completed prior to the downtown infrastructure work moving on to Main Street. As we work toward that goal, we’ve asked the contractor to shore up fencing in the area, and minimize the construction footprint to allow more room for traffic and parking. City staff are working with the Minot Parking Authority on additional downtown parking solutions, and as soon as those are in place, they will be announced to the public

Downtown is not the only focus for revitalization, our new Minot International Airport terminal is really taking shape. About 90 percent of the steel structure is completed, and work will move to the inside portions over the winter. The plan is to have the new terminal open in December of 2015, but some relief for parking at the existing terminal will be available for those citizens traveling this winter. Airport officials have opened one of the new parking lots, and this will allow parking for an additional 560 vehicles as we enter the holiday travel season. For information on parking, as well as up to date flight information, travelers are asked to check the airport website: www.whyflyminot.com

Lastly, I am currently working with the city manager and other city staff in preparing for the 2015 legislative session. Over the next biennium, we have earmarked several hundred million dollars’ worth of infrastructure needs directly related to the energy growth in our state, and we will vigorously pursue as much oil-impact funding as possible in order to ease the burden on city property taxes and utility rates. City staff and I traveled to Bismarck and met with Governor Dalrymple about our pressing needs, and we have also had several meetings with our local legislators so they have the specific information they will need during the session.

Our needs are many, but we will work hard to make sure that we receive our fair share from oil revenues that are coming in to the state, as I firmly believe the growth we are seeing is a direct result of the energy development.

If you have any questions or concerns you can reach me by sending an e-mail to mayor@minotnd.org or by calling 701-857-4750.

Josh Wolsky

Editor and Publisher of TheMinotVoice, Developer of the #ForMinot Network,  Co-Host of #GoodTalk Minot, Advocate and Friend of the Souris River, Former City Alderman, and clearly -- all things #MakeMinot. Go ahead, don't wait for permission!

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