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Posted on January 14, 2022 at 10:35 AM by Bryan Obenchain
I know it’s early in the new year, but the 2022 City election isn’t really that far away, and for those interested in running for public office, the clock is ticking.
The 2022 city election will be held June 14; the deadline to file petitions for office is April 11. There are several City positions on the ballot, including mayor, and the Council seats of Lisa Olson, Mark Jantzer, and Paul Pitner.
Candidate packets are available at City Hall. If you’re interested in running for office, here’s what you’ll need:
That’s what it takes to get your name on the ballot. But then the real work begins, as you’ll need to communicate your positions on a wide variety of issues to the residents of Minot, and explain how you would provide guidance and leadership should you be elected. After all, the voters will ultimately decide who fills the open seats.
Having a choice of qualified candidates is essential to the success of a Municipal Government, School Board, or County Commission. Competition brings out the best in all candidates; healthy debate and civil disagreement is a necessary part of government at every level. If you’re interested in running, it’s important to be informed of what’s happening on the local level because the decisions you make if elected have a direct impact on the daily lives of members of our community. The Minot City Council, the Minot Public School Board, and the Ward County Commission all faced serious decisions in 2021, and will continue to make important choices this year and beyond.
At the City, we’ll soon begin discussing in earnest the 2023 budget. There are major construction projects coming this year and beyond, and work continues on two of the largest infrastructure projects in our City’s history: The Northwest Area Water Supply project and the Mouse River Enhanced Flood Protection Project. There are difficult decisions ahead of us as a City as work to secure our community’s future as a growing and resilient city.
As a member of the Council, you’ll be responsible for financial decisions that affect more than 400 City employees and the community as a whole. You’ll need to balance the needs of the City as an organization with the needs of the entire community. You’ll work with community partners like Ward County, Minot Public Schools, Minot State University, the Minot Park District, Minot Air Force Base and a host of others. You’ll be fairly and unfairly criticized at some point, sometimes for decisions made by other local entities, even though you had nothing to do with the decision. All these things are part of the job.
But, there are a multitude of good things that are part of the job, too. It’s rewarding to be part of an elected body that works to create a long-term vision for the community, and then plays a role in turning that vision into reality. The sense of pride is real when a long-term project comes to fruition, knowing you played a small role through setting budget priorities and funding for specific projects. Those moments are only part of what makes these positions interesting and attractive; being involved in the day-to-day operation of the City doesn’t always involve major decisions, but those everyday decisions are crucial to the continued success of our organization.
If you decide to run for City Council or mayor, I encourage you to educate yourself about local issues and begin the process of sharing your vision with the community. Please remember that you’ll be part of something much bigger than yourself and your individual goals or agendas, and that you’ll take an oath making you responsible to those who elected you.
Leadership comes in many forms and methods, but the foundation remains the same: Doing what’s best for the entire community.
Sincerely, City Hall
You can find more about what’s happening at the City of Minot at minotnd.org, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. We’d also encourage you to sign up for our monthly electronic newsletter on our website.
Posted on December 30, 2021 at 10:28 AM by Bryan Obenchain
I want to take this opportunity to wish every Minot resident a happy new year. It’s been a challenging year, to be sure, but it’s also been a year full of successes for our community as a whole.
As 2022 unfolds, we’re planning to take some time to reflect on those success stories and to share with the community our vision for the upcoming year. As we have done for the past few years, we are planning the annual State of the City event. While there are many details yet to be worked out, the event is scheduled for Feb. 18. After holding an online video mayor’s address in 2021 due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, we’re pleased to be planning an in-person event in 2022. Preliminary plans call for holding the State of the City during a noon luncheon. We’ll provide more information when the time, location, and other details are finalized.
While the State of the City offers an opportunity to focus on the past year and look ahead to what awaits our community in 2022, the dawn of a new year is also a perfect time to remember some things that make Minot such a unique community.
Yes, it’s been a trying year in Minot, in North Dakota, in our nation, and around the world because of ongoing issues related to COVID-19. Some of those issues have shed light on a seemingly growing divide among us whether it be real, perceived or otherwise. Too often that puts the focus on areas of disagreement. That is unfortunate, because in times of need, we should strive to focus on what’s best for our community, our country, and our well-being. That’s what I believe makes Minot different.
I believe in the overall goodness of the residents of Minot. No amount of negativity will convince me otherwise. Sure, there are moments of impatience or frustration that lead to unkind words or deeds, but I refuse to believe that those moments define us as members of this community. I’ve seen and continue to see the goodness that flourishes in the Magic City.
I choose to continue my long-held belief that Minot is truly a unique place to live, and that Minot is a city where a palpable community spirit not only exists, but thrives. I see it every day, and I know you do, too. All you have to do is simply take a moment to recognize the great things that make up our community.
Sometimes, small gestures can have great impacts. When you make a contribution to a local charity like Backpack Buddies, Meals on Wheels, Companions for Children or countless others, you are making a positive difference for your co-workers, your neighbors, your friends, and maybe even your own family. There are many charities in our area that help provide for the physical and spiritual well-being of our residents who rely on the generosity of our community. They are rarely if ever disappointed. When a local agency or group puts out a notice that it’s in need of a particular item, whether it’s diapers, food, clothing or otherwise, there’s almost always an immediate positive response and the need is quickly filled. That’s the Minot I continue to believe in.
2021 revealed endless examples of this resilient and generous spirit in Minot, even outside the formal structure of charities and agencies. Various groups of people collected and distributed hundreds of holiday meals to families in need. A local man donated funds to purchase a new book for every student and teacher at Washington Elementary. Just this week, how many examples have we seen of strangers shoveling someone’s driveway or helping a driver who became stuck in a snowbank? That’s the Minot I continue to believe in.
These are simply a few examples of what’s happening in our community every day. There are so many more thoughtful and meaningful gestures that make life better for one person or for many people. Many of these acts of kindness aren’t publicized, yet they reflect the true character of Minot. These everyday actions also further cultivate the welcoming atmosphere of Minot on a personal level, imprinting the community ideal on each one of us.
Municipal government plays a role in the physical and social growth of a community, and Minot is no different. At our State of the City event, we’ll explore these issues in more depth, reflect on the positive aspects of 2021, and share the City of Minot’s vision for 2022 and beyond. We’ll provide more details when they are finalized, but please use this as a notice to save the date. I look forward to seeing you at the State of the City. Happy New Year.
Posted on December 17, 2021 at 10:23 AM by Bryan Obenchain
As 2021 nears an end, it’s easy to look back on the past 12 months and remember the challenges brought on by a continuing COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic and political ramifications. But we would be wrong to ignore the number of resilient and forward-thinking projects that are physically and philosophically changing our community. The examples of long-term investment in our community and our residents are everywhere.
The project to relocate City Hall to the former Wells Fargo building in downtown Minot took significant steps toward becoming reality this year. The City purchased the building, and the Council approved plans for the renovation plans in November. Work on the building is scheduled to begin early in 2022, with completion anticipated approximately one year later. The new City Hall will help streamline services, create efficiencies, improve access for the general public, and bring additional activity to downtown.
A private project reshaping our community’s landscape is the Magic City Discovery Center under construction on our city’s north hill. The building continues to rise dramatically above Minot’s north skyline, but its effect on our community will be much bigger than just the size of the actual building. The center represents a strengthened commitment to the youth of Minot and the surrounding region. The Discovery Center will serve as a learning tool for residents and visitors alike for generations.
In December, voters overwhelmingly approved projects to construct Minot’s second public high school in the former Cognizant building on north hill, transform Central Campus into the city’s third middle school, and remodel Magic City Campus into a facility for grades nine through 12. While we’re seeing the end results now, this project has been in the works for years. Overcrowding issues at the middle school level and the inefficiencies of housing grades nine and 10 in one building and grades 11 and 12 in a separate building have been concerns for a long time. This project is a significant investment not only in the youth of our community, but in the future of Minot as a city. Quality education systems are among the most important factors when attracting new businesses and industries to Minot, and creating education opportunities is vital to the long-term success of any community.
Trinity Health’s new hospital under construction in southwest Minot is scheduled to be completed and open to patients in 2023. The facility will increase efficiencies, improve overall patient care, and provide health care opportunities for the residents of Minot and the surrounding area. It truly will transform health care in our region, and has already spurred commercial growth in that quadrant of Minot. The overall impact on Minot by the construction of this new state-of-the-art facility cannot be overstated.
There has been tremendous commercial development in Minot this year, both large and small. Minot welcomed several new businesses in every corner of our community, and there are expansion projects under way at Dakota Square Mall, with more in the works. Blu on Broadway, a project that combined private investments and federal funding, opened on South Broadway, providing commercial space and much-needed low-to-moderate income housing units. Recently, a developer announced plans to purchase the former Midwest Federal Savings bank with plans to repurpose it into commercial space and housing units. We can’t forget the changes at Minot’s intermodal rail facility that have opened up container shipping trade to the entire world. These dynamic projects and a host of others will help propel our community into an even more prosperous future.
And of course, the largest infrastructure project in Minot’s history continues to achieve milestones. The Mouse River Enhanced Flood Protection Project made tremendous strides in 2021, buttoning up work on multiple phases while design work continues on upcoming phases. With help from community, state, and federal partners, we’ve accomplished great things on this project, but there is much work to be done. We have consistently pledged to pursue all avenues of funding to complete this project as quickly and efficiently as possible.
These projects and others happening this year share a common theme: Progress. Minot and its numerous partners have said for years that big things were coming to our community. Those predictions are becoming reality. The results will spur not only economic growth, but will also boost our already excellent quality of life and make Minot an even better place to live and raise a family.
We’re fortunate to live in a community like Minot; we’re proud to be a growing city that retains many small-town qualities. As we move into 2022, we look forward to even more projects that will have positive impacts on our area’s economy, but will also further strengthen the relationships that make Minot such a resilient and welcoming place to live.