Parks Recovering From Flood - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Parks Recovering From Flood

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It's been two years since floodwaters overtook a big chunk of the city of Minot, including many of the city's parks.

But just as homeowners and businesses have been busy rebuilding since the 2011 flood, the parks have been coming back too.

Jim Olson reports on how the park system is faring, two years after the flood caused more than eleven million dollars in damage.

(Ron Merritt, Minot Parks Director) "We're making good progress."

Minot Parks Director Ron Merritt is sticking his neck out about how his parks are recovering - including one of the jewels of the park district- the Roosevelt Park Zoo.

(Ron Merritt, Minot Parks Director) "The zoo is starting to look nice, the grass is coming in and we're getting things cleaned and looking the way they should."

He notes that the otter and penguin displays are still not back - bids will be coming in soon to rebuild those exhibits. But the rest of the zoo is ready for action. So too is the Roosevelt Park Pool.

(Ron Merritt, Minot Parks Director) "We've got the pool up and running, we ran the train last week for the first time so things are coming back there too."

In addition to the pool, Roosevelt Park itself is also greening up and looking a lot like it did before the flood hit. Across town at Oak Park, it's the same story. The water park is open and the trails are back in business - complete with new speed bumps to discourage speeding motorists. And at the park-owned golf course, Souris Valley, a big day is getting close.

(Ron Merritt, Minot Parks Director) "They were just about ready to pave the approaches up to the bridges and once that's complete - when the weather gives us time to get that done - we should be able to have about 15 holes and shortly thereafter we'll be up to the full 18 at Souris Valley."

As for the cost of all this, Merritt says it's going to be close to 11 million dollars - money that has been collected from FEMA, grants, a city facilities fund, and new debt for the park department.

(Ron Merritt, Minot Parks Director) "At this point that's not an issue anymore, it's just trying to get contracts and contractors on board and just physically getting the work done."

And that work will continue this summer, fall, and winter until - in Merritt's dream - the parks can be declared fully restored by next spring.

(Ron Merritt, Minot Parks Director) "That's what we're hoping for."

Jim Olson, KX News.

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