Minot’s best days ahead

Curt Zimbelman, Mayor of Minot

Many of the recent visitors to the State Fair must be amazed at how far we’ve come from the flood of 2011.

The impression can’t be missed. Anyone coming into our city will see new stores and restaurants and busy streets; all signs of our strong, growing economy. While one would not have to look hard to be reminded that we have not fully recovered from the terrible hardship encountered only two years ago, our federal and state partners, along with the energy boom and strong agricultural markets, have provided the resources for our citizens to rebuild.

Companies within the energy and agricultural industries were key to providing financial relief to members of our community and rebuilding parks and other facilities that help to give Minot a great quality of life. Together, energy companies led relief contributions by providing $2.14 million, and local companies, many of which were also flood victims, provided nearly $1 million to the rebuilding effort. Furthermore, many of them provided paid time to their employees to join our flood efforts, allowing them to help their neighbors, themselves, and strangers alike.

Today, Minot is experiencing a much different story a positive one with a prosperous future.

Our city’s downtown is undergoing a renaissance. Altogether, private and government entities will invest $140.8 million into downtown in efforts of creating a more vibrant city center. We have plans for construction of facilities that will offer new downtown living options combined with greater retail. We are improving the streets and water systems downtown with $18 million in federal funds. Private developers have committed $110 million for new and renewed buildings. These projects will produce a culture downtown that is rivaled by few other cities.

Retail is expanding across our city. As the energy industry impact has grown in Minot, small and large retailers have opened new stores to answer the new demand, giving all of us more varied shopping opportunities. Residents on the North Hill now have a full-service grocery store, along with a new hardware store, pharmacy, and more. On the south side, the new Southgate Crossing provided our city a $109 million development with a grocery store, retail, and two hotels.

And very importantly, our city is adding new and affordable housing options for our displaced and new residents. This year our city has issued more than 600 permits for new apartment units, a figure that is double even last year’s building efforts. The expected result is lower rents, and housing becoming more affordable again for all of our residents.

Our economy is diversifying. Leaders across the city are working to use our strong local economy to position our city for success in new industries. Just one of these examples is the Port of North Dakota, a specialized rail facility that will allow for new manufacturing jobs in Minot; an important part of diversifying our economy.

Our flood recovery is not complete, but what we have accomplished is incredible. We owe it to our federal and state partners, our thriving oil and agricultural industries, and most importantly, the strong citizens of Minot.

There is little doubt that Minot’s best days are ahead, and with that positive outlook, I’ve decided that it’s time to announce my intention not to run in the next election. I’ve enjoyed my time as mayor of this wonderful city, but it’s time for new leadership to come in and continue the path of growth and prosperity that all of you have helped to create. I thank you for the support you have shown me through difficult times, and I wish the best for each and every person who calls this Magic City our home.