L. John MacMartin 2018-02-26 12:27:43
MINOT, N.D. – Minot is Magic in many ways, but let’s briefly explore the Magic in terms of infrastructure and what that might mean for a business or industrial expansion. As with many other communities, Minot owes its existence to the westward expansion of the railroads in the late 1890s. Today, two Class 1 railroads cross at grade in the city, BNSF and the Canadian Pacific railways. Minot’s location, halfway between Chicago and the west coast, is strategic for both rail lines. In the recent past, private/public partnerships have resulted in two grade separations, which improved the operations of both rail lines as well. In December, BNSF announced the certification of a nearly 400 acre site in the Minot agriculture/industrial park in northeast Minot. In essence, that designation tells developers that six to nine months of development time has already occurred at that location, including access to rail, streets and municipal utilities. “Build-ready” property is waiting for occupants, resulting in a head start and tremendous savings for potential businesses. Additionally, an intermodal facility is available near the agricultural/industrial park. Like most of western North Dakota, Minot experienced an expansion of the local economy starting in 2008. In 2012, that expansion became a boom throughout the area. In Minot, it was added to by an increase of personnel at Minot Air Force Base of nearly 800 airmen. And of course, there was the flood of 2011. Any of the above events alone would have required an expansion of infrastructure. Collectively, the events have led us to both expand and extensively repair the trunk infrastructure in and around Minot. So what exactly does that mean? It means that we have the capacity to accommodate growth both in undeveloped areas throughout Minot as well as on vacant land in and around the city limits. And as North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum rolls out his Main Street Initiative, Minot is positioned for significant infill growth. Miles of new trunk water and sanitary sewer lines in north, east and south Minot complete the build-out of the system to serve new growth for the foreseeable future. New urban streets have been built where before there were rural roads, one of which will serve the new location for Trinity Hospital. All of downtown infrastructure was completely modernized in a three-year project completed in late 2017. We have a “new” downtown – new in the sense that the area has new water, sewer, storm sewer, street, curb and gutter and sidewalk infrastructure, as well as bright LED lighting on period motif poles. The new storm sewer was expanded and rerouted to take into account the planned flood protection. In the near future, the downtown will be home to a new community gathering space. Downtown also is starting to see new mixed uses, with some renovated loft spaces with more planned housing to follow. After the 2011 flood, the community was invited to compete for unused federal dollars from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, designated as the National Disaster Resilience Competition Program. Minot was successful in getting $74 million in the NDR program. The dollars are to be used to help Minot recover and grow more resilient. That means they’ll fund projects that position the community for growth. Construction of flood protection to the level of the 2011 flood will start in the spring, with Phases 1 to 4 protecting 62 percent of the homes damaged in that event. Much additional low-income, middle-income and upscale housing units have been built in the past 6 years. Today, housing either for purchase or rent is a good value proposition for the buyer/renter. And lest we forget, there is a brand new airport terminal with four operating gates with jet bridges. Two additional gates are part of the terminal and need only to have jet bridges installed as demand warrants. “Build it and they will come” has never been more the fact than it is in Minot today.
Published by Prairie Business Magazine c/o Forum. View All Articles.