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Build Minot started in January with a relatively simple goal: Encourage people to share their ideas on how to make Minot a stronger community.
The results of the five-month community engagement project developed by Randi Monley, Library Associate at the Minot Public Library, were both eye-opening and encouraging.
“There were many suggestions written on the blocks that we would have never thought of,” said Monley. “It was enlightening to see suggestions as general as ‘more stuff to do indoors’ as well as very detailed comments about public transportation or street improvements.”
The concept behind Build Minot was simple: Citizens were asked to “write what you want to see in our community” with a permanent marker on a MegaBlok, and then add the block to a growing sculpture of blocks. Once completed, the sculptures were rotated to more than twenty different locations around the city and Minot Air Force Base.
“The Minot Public Library wanted to help take steps to gather input so that the people of Minot could physically and emotionally build Minot back in the community we all know it can be,” Monley said.
Gathering information from the blocks was a lengthy process. Approximately 100 blocks were disregarded because they were illegible, inappropriate or didn’t fit the criteria for the project. That left 3,591individual blocks. Library staff members entered what was written on the blocks into spreadsheets, and then divided the entries into many categories, eventually dividing the entries into these categories:
-Help for at-risk populations
-Animal laws/animal shelter
-What we have
Library Director Janet Anderson said those involved with the project note that many of the suggestions gathered with the campaign have already begun to happen in Minot. Some of those changes include the opening of an indoor trampoline park, the City re-evaluating animal laws, the opening of an indoor mini golf facility, more public art projects in downtown Minot, the City working on creating a family homeless shelter and more affordable housing, and the City working to create a downtown gathering space.
“Overall, the Build Minot community engagement campaign was a very positive experience for everyone involved,” Anderson said. “Based on anecdotal evidence and feedback from community members, the opportunity for people to share their ideas was much appreciated.”
Anderson said the information will be used by the Minot Public Library to help define programming and other services, but she also hopes the information will be used by others in the community as a way help organizations in the future. Library staff are currently in the process of separating out pertinent data to distribute to the appropriate organizations. Links to the findings will also be available on the Library’s website later this month.
“The people of Minot have taken the time to share what they want to see in their city, and we hope that other entities will use this information to make decisions in order to help the Minot community flourish,” Anderson said.