Minot is undergoing so many changes lately that even Google Maps should be forgiven for not being able to keep up. Amidst the cacophonous sound of construction, traffic and machinery, new buildings and housing developments seem to rise up overnight.
North Hill, which has long struggled with lack of services, and lack of support for services when they did exist, now has the population to sustain the retail some desire, and some new retail is on its way.
Walmart now seems likely to join the ranks breaking ground, proposed to be located in what is currently an open field at the intersection of 21st Avenue Northwest and the Highway 83 Bypass. The location is roughly across the street from the ING building and about half a mile to the west.
Jesse D. Watson/MDN
A field that once grew corn and sunflowers might now grow a Walmart. Apostolic Faith Church and 19th St. NW can be seen in the distance with new housing developments. To the right is the Highway 83 Bypass. In the foreground is 21st Ave. NW.
The public was invited via postal mail to an open house at Lewis and Clark Elementary Monday night to provide input and examine various posters which gave information on the building, the site, elevation, landscaping, even the big blue sign. The parking lot of the school was full, and the gymnasium, where the open house took place, was lively, though the mood was mostly wary.
One woman, who lives in the area and wished to remain anonymous, stated, "We do not need Walmart here."
"Maybe if it was on North Broadway (it would be wanted or more acceptable)," she added.
A man, who also wished to remain anonymous, was also wary of the new development.
"Any place you go, you have these people who've been here forever, and they don't want things to change," he said.
However, forever is a long time, and many of the residents who would be in the closest proximity to the store have not been there long at all, settled for only a year or less. Newcomers to Minot, from surrounding communities and from the rest of the United States, as well as people relocating after the Souris River flood of 2011, live in new housing developments in the area along with the denizens of the older sections of the neighborhoods.
The proposed building would be 180,000 square feet with the usual departments, services and goods offered at a Walmart. It's also planned to include a full-service grocery department and a pharmacy. The latter has brought about some questions since North Dakota state law requires a pharmacy to be majority-owned by a licensed pharmacist. This issue was not addressed at Monday's meeting.
The new Walmart will need about 300 employees. The earliest development at the proposed site could begin would be spring 2013, and it would take at least an entire year to complete the structure.