Downtown proposal: Dream big

If you’re going to dream, you might as well dream big.

Such is the River Front and Center project, a long-range proposal unveiled this week to transform downtown Minot into an area with more parks, green space and focus on attracting visitors and shoppers.

The plan developed by the City of Minot and its consultant, Stantec, would be dramatic. New parks replacing current parking lots. New buildings, both commercial and residential. Landscaping and other changes would welcome visitors to the downtown area, and improve the link between the city and the nearby Souris River.

The concept unveiled this week will continue to change based on public feedback, and then a final document will be presented to the city council. The key, say the planners, is community support and funding.

Ah, yes, funding.

After just a quick study of the concept, one realizes that the price tag to complete everything on the list would be staggering, perhaps in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Many of the ideas in the plan would, indeed, make dramatic and welcome changes to downtown Minot. More parks and greenspace? Sounds great. Areas that would encourage walking and biking rather than vehicle traffic? Great idea. New ways to incorporate the river into the overall history of downtown? Fantastic.

Gathering community support is one thing; finding millions and millions of dollars to actually bring the long-range vision, or at least portions of the plan, to fruition is quite another task.