"I think we've come a long ways, that's for sure."
That's how Minot Mayor Curt Zimbelman characterizes the city's recovery from the devastating 2011 Souris River flood. He acknowledges the city has made strides, but there are challenges ahead.
Zimbelman says at the same time, Minot’s economy is booming – and the city is also dealing with that reality. But he says the city has been able to manage things.
"There certainly are major infrastructure needs," said Zimbelman. "We have quite a bit of it done, but there's a long ways to go. We still have water towers, sewer -- and a lot of paving. We have so much paving going on, you can't hardly get across town."
Not only is the city continuing its recovery from the 2011 flood, it’s expanding – and growing. Minot is close to the Bakken – so oil companies are building. So are rail companies – and firms that deal with value-added agriculture. Zimbelman says the city is doing its best to manage the growth. He says city leaders are taking the time to listen to Minot residents and their concerns.
"Quality of life comes up very often," said Zimbelman. "So we have been very careful not to overdo it, as far as,say, man camps. We've held off on any of that kind of thing, and we tell the oil companies, 'Hey, if you're going to build in Minot, it's not going to be the temporary type stuff, it's going to be permanent, so that we can grow together.'"
Zimbelman says the oil companies have responded.
"They've made some major investments in our community," said Zimbelman. "They've got people living here that have made major investments in their homes, and that's what we're looking for."
"We've got housing projects in every quadrant in town," Zimbelman said. "Apartments going up all over. Restaurants. We added 13 new hotels last year. Retail. Everyone's expanding. It's all at one time. And like I said, you have to have the infrastructure in place in order to make that happen."