Minot isn't the city it used to be, and the Minot Area Development Corp. is looking at how it needs to adapt its vision to the changes that are occurring.
A group of community and business leaders met Monday to discuss the future into 2020 and 2030, assuming Minot's population potentially could double. The group included legislators, representatives of developments under way in Minot, the city council, MAGIC Fund Screening Committee, Ward County Commission and MADC board of directors.
The discussion included Minot's strengths, weaknesses, workforce, flood recovery, growth and quality of life, said Shane Goettle with Odney. Goettle facilitated the meeting and will be providing a final report to guide MADC in developing strategies.
"We didn't arrive at any strong conclusions. We are just pointing ahead to the need to have a vision for this community that encompasses all of those different efforts. So it is moving forward. There's a real desire to help move forward in a way that is more deliberate," said Goettle, quoting one participant who stressed that Minot
residents end up with "the city they want and not just the city they get."
Matt Kramer, board chairman for MADC, said MADC can't lose its focus on areas such as oil, agriculture and technology.
"But I think, as with most other cases in Minot, there's more to do, so we really have to broaden our scope," he said.
The MAGIC Fund could be tapped to address housing issues.
"We haven't exactly narrowed down how we are going to go after that. We certainly don't want to get in the way of private developers and the real estate market, but we think there are some things we can do to hold down some of the costs of the infrastructure end of that business," Kramer said. "Things like affordable housing are certainly critical issues to the overall growth of Minot. We want those young families and those service-oriented workers to be able to live and thrive in Minot. We think that's a vital component to Minot's economic vitality."
Child care also is at the top of the list of items that MADC wants addressed, although Kramer said it might not necessarily be a MAGIC Fund function. He noted some of the residential and commercial downtown developments want to set aside space for child care if operators can be found.
Mayor Curt Zimbelman said the city might need to reconsider how much of the sales tax should be allocated for economic development incentives as sales-tax revenues grow. Just the existence of MADC's industrial parks is an incentive that attracts businesses, he said.
Kramer said another desire is of MADC is to better promote Minot as a regional and statewide hub. That means getting the word out and getting organizations throughout Minot on the same page with the same message, he said.