Finding Space for a Downtown Gathering Space

downtown park.jpg

When the city of Minot was awarded more than 73-million dollars in the National Disaster Resilience competition last year, a six-million dollar chunk of the money was earmarked for developing a downtown park and event site.

Now, city staff members are discovering how difficult it can be to locate a suitable site for that destination park.

Jim Olson shows us why City Manager Tom Barry is supporting a site that was initially panned by some people.

This is a parking lot just off Broadway in the heart of Minot. It’s owned by Trinity Health for its downtown staff.  But Trinity is due to open a new campus southwest of town, meaning this lot could become unneeded. And City Manager Tom Barry says it’s shaping up as a great possibility to host something completely different.

(Tom Barry, Minot City Manager) “It is a promising site…”

Barry made a presentation to the city council last week – not pushing the site, he said, but pointing out that, if the city wants to be true to its promise in winning the six million dollars for a downtown gathering space, there are few viable options.

(Tom Barry, Minot City Manager) “What we see is that the blocks that don’t work are X-ed out because of the encumberances, because of all the other criteria that were identified.”

But this plain old parking is an option – mainly because of the low cost of preparation.

(Tom Barry, Minot City Manager) “If we can take the six million dollars and maximize the majority of those funds into building improvements as opposed to demolishing buildings and clearing sites and relocating businesses, there’s an opportunity to maximize the amenities of the park. “

How about safety? With a park located right next to a busy downtown street?

(Tom Barry, Minot City Manager) “To keep children and to keep balls and that sort of thing off Broadway and other streets, there’s a number of ways this could be designed to minimize and mitigate that.”

He’s hoping people initially against the location might reconsider when they see the situation – and the transformation that could happen on this plain old parking lot.

In downtown Minot, Jim Olson, KX News.

Minot’s new city council will be making the decisions on the location for the downtown gathering space.

That new council has its first meeting Wednesday.

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