Minot residents taking part in the neighborhood Riverfront and Center process have lots of ideas for improving areas affected by the 2011 flood. They hope their city leaders will follow through on those ideas when the ball lands in their court.
Residents of neighborhoods west of Broadway met Monday, while those in neighborhoods east of Broadway meet tonight at 7 p.m. at Roosevelt Park Zoo.
Participants on Monday talked about a variety of improvements, from better street lighting to sidewalks. They expressed their thoughts on restoring the Oak Park area and turning the old Erik Ramstad school area into a park. They acknowledged that it will take help, not roadblocks, from the city to make changes happen. While they are concerned about getting that support, it didn't keep them from forging ahead with the process.
"If it doesn't happen, we can't say we didn't try," Barbara Bethel said.
Alderman George Withus said he intends to get behind the residents.
"I am hearing what people want to see. Now I think it's time we start acting on it," he said. "The city is going to have to come through. I think we can handle some of that."
Residents were interested in seeing abandoned flooded properties restored and not torn down if they don't need to be. But they also indicated they are anxious to get get something done.
Phil Carlson, one of the Stantec planning consultants facilitating the Riverfront and Center process for the city, said it is clear that participants are passionate about their neighborhoods and would like the rebound from the flood to come more quickly. Repercussions from the flood still are on people's minds.
"I have felt optimistic but apprehensive about the future," said resident Liz Hoppman, who noted the recent wet weather is worrisome because the city hasn't built proposed flood protection yet.
"I think I will continue to be apprehensive about that until there's more work done on that," she said.
Discussion on Monday centered around 11 common goals identified in previous neighborhood meetings in April. The goals were for:
- a multi-season trail system.
- safe and functional streets for vehicles, pedestrians and bikes.
- better management of street parking.
- maintaining and improving public safety.
- maintaining and improving the appearance and condition of properties and buildings.
- maintaining parks and community facilities.
- maintaining and expanding the supply of safe and affordable, life-cycle housing.
- maintaining viable neighborhood commercial and employment centers.
- maintaining and enhancing property values.
- building and maintaining existing infrastructure to city standards.
- providing residents with tools to be involved in and maintain their neighborhoods.
Information from this week's meetings will direct discussion at August meetings on designing the specific changes desired. Future meetings will be held in October to draft neighborhood plans to bring to the city council.
People can follow the Riverfront and Center project on Facebook. They can connect through the Riverfront and Center link on the city website at (www.minotnd.org).