Speculation on the MARC: Where are They Going to Put it?

It’s in the title, but let’s be crystal clear on this. This article is pure speculation.

Park District officials have repeatedly said it would not be financially responsible to purchase land before they have authority from voters to build the MARC. So, as far as the Park District is concerned, they’re not saying, and it’s important that you understand we do not have ANY official sources that have led to the conclusions you see below.

What We Know For Sure…

  1. The site plan requires 16 acres. So we have to find sites that have at least 16 available acres.
  2. The business plan and market survey revealed that we’d be most likely to buy a membership if it’s located within a 10-12 minute drive.
  3. Donna Jarmusz of IBIS Enterprises has stated on the record that they’ll encourage the Park District to locate the facility in a place where it is most likely to be successful.

A Few of Our Assumptions…

Assumptions are dangerous. If you get them wrong, everything you base on them is likely tainted too. These seem pretty safe though…

  1. We care about including our Air Force neighbors, and if we can locate this facility in a place that make it more convenient for military residents, that would be a good thing. Let’s try to do that.
  2. The YMCA is a first-rate health and fitness facility. We probably shouldn’t locate the MARC in their back yard.
  3. It’s probably going to stay in the City of Minot.

Breaking it Down by Quadrant

It may be helpful to launch this future land use PDF provide by the City of Minot. It will open in a new tab.

Southeast Minot

  • Demographics: Not great… Yet. A lot of the interior parts of SE Minot are more industrial; there are a lot of plans for further out in SE Minot, but there isn’t much already built where land is available. This is a growing part of town so two years from now, who knows.
  • Air Force Base: Not great. It’s better than it used to be with the improving NE bypass, but this is still the farthest away for AFB residents.
  • YMCA: Meh. If the location pushed further out into SE Minot, where most of the land is available then the YMCA would be less of a factor, but see demographics above.
  • Drive Time: Not great. Because most of the available land is farther out on the edges of SE Minot, the drive time for much of the target demographic probably makes this a less desirable location. The newer areas of SE Minot are landlocked by valleys and coulees that make access a bit more difficult.
  • Land: Good. There is land available near the 55th Crossing development and an appropriately sized parcel right at the 2 & 52 intersection that is already on the market.

Southwest Minot

  • Demographics: Good. Southwest Minot has been where most of Minot’s historical development has been. There are lots of single family homes and apartments near the mall.
  • Air Force Base:  Meh. SW Minot is better served by the west-side bypass, but it’s still a long drive for base residents. At least they’d be able to tie their trip to shopping or other commercial activities.
  • YMCA: Terrible. This is the YMCA’s back yard. However, there are a couple undeveloped tracts just across from Behm’s Truck Stop. These are probably the most suitable SW locations with regards to the YMCA, but they are not actively listed either.
  • Drive Time: Meh. For those located close, it will always be ok, but with more development and activity, there’s also more traffic congestion. The point, these are already very busy roads.
  • Land: Not great. There is land listed very near to the YMCA (not ideal), and there are a couple open but unlisted land tracts near Behm’s Truck Stop.

Northwest Minot

  • Demographics: Good. There’s a lot of housing activity in Northwest Minot near the new Ramstad school and along the bypass in the Bolton Heights addition. Plus, most of Northwest Minot is previously established residential housing.
  • Air Force Base: Good. A bypass location is just a couple minutes off of Highway 83.
  • YMCA: Good. The YMCA is pretty far away for those that value a convenient location as a high priority.
  • Drive Time: Good. For most of Central and North Minot, a Northwest location is going to fall within the ideal 10-12 minute drive time, and a bypass location would add many Southside residents as well.
  • Land: Good. There are several suitable sized chunks of land for sale in NW Minot at or near the Park District’s estimated price.

Northeast Minot

  • Demographics: Not Great. On the other side of the airport — where the land is available, there isn’t much development yet.
  • Air Force Base: Good. The available land in Northeast Minot is easily accessible from Highway 83.
  • YMCA: Good. NE Minot is generally as far away as you can get from the YMCA.
  • Drive Time: Not Great. Because of the airport, a lot of potential members would have to go out and around to get to a Northeast Minot location.
  • Land: OK. There is land available and priced competitively, but the see the ‘Drive Time’ concerns above.

note: to close a map popup look for the faint x in the top right corner. It is hard to see, but clicking in that area will close the box.
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What Do You Think?

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Conclusions

Southeast: It feels like this project is just a couple years early for Southeast Minot. The 55th Street Crossing would be a great area, but it’s not far enough along yet to support the membership goals, and it’s a long way out for the rest of Minot.

Southwest: Locating it near the YMCA seems like an obvious non-starter, and the few other SW tracts that are suitable are not actively listed. My call: Less likely.

Northwest: Northwest Minot hits all the right notes — people, land, and good access. Plus, it’s convenient for the AFB residents and even Burlington, and it wouldn’t step on too many toes with the YMCA.

Northeast: The required drive around the airport and the smaller amount of residential units in Northeast Minot locations where land is available make this a less likely location in my opinion.

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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