With agriculture, we feed the world. With oil, we power the world. And with the Minot Air Force Base, we protect the world. These ideas sit at the core of the Minot’s application for the National Disaster Resiliency Competition and give City officials confidence that there will be an award of federal dollars that will help kick-start a community transformation.
And the most important transformation of all — we need to change the way we think about the river. We need get to a point where we aren’t scared of it, but rather embrace it for the community asset it has the potential to be.
That was the message from ten thousand feet above. If you were at the meeting, several speakers broke it down into more detail as well. Here’s the quick recap of the five focus points included in Minot’s application.
- Flood Protection and River Managment. Ryan Ackerman of Ackerman Estvold Engineering spoke about getting control of the river. He emphasized the need to get it done on a basin-wide scale and doing it in a way that turned the river into a natural asset as opposed to utilitarian water channel.
- Safe Neighborhoods and Affordable Housing. Shawn Sipma spoke on the difficulties and changes that have taken place in flood neighborhoods. He alluded to the idea that rebuilding in the same places that have now flooded multiple times over Minot’s history is bad policy. The solution he hinted at… perhaps we need to think about moving some of these homes.
- Resilient Transportation: Anyone who was here during the flood knows how important this is and that Minot needs to solve the problem of becoming two communities when we’re in flood-fighting mode.
- Economic Development and Diversity: Terri Aldrich, Executive Director of the Minot Council of the Arts, spoke on the importance of arts as both an economic multiplier and quality-of-life factor that
- Vulnerable Populations: Tom Alexander, Director of the Minot Housing Authority, spoke on developing an application inclusive of those among us who need the help from the community. He challenged the audience to redefine their concept of who they view as vulnerable.
The Process and Next Steps
The National Disaster Resilience Competition is in the first application stage. Minot’s application will be finalized and opened to comment on the 23rd of February. Public comment will be open for a couple weeks; the final first stage application will be submitted on March 15.
If successful, a second stage of the process will begin where as a community we’ll need to get specific details about ideas that address the needs from the first stage.
If Minot continues to be successful through the competition, awards will be announced on approximately December 15th of this year.
Update: Notice from the City this afternoon highlights some updated stage one application deadlines that have come down from Housing and Urban Development. The newly revised deadline for stage one applications is March 27. This means the City will publish the final application for public comment on March 4th.