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Minot marks a milestone one year after the devastating flood

One year ago, sirens sounded in Minot, telling residents they had to evacuate because of record flooding on the Souris River. Dikes were being over-topped or failing, and a wall of water was on its way to inundate the valley. Now, a year later, the city is marking its recovery efforts. Prairie Public’s Dave Thompson was on-hand as the city re-opened Oak Park.

"Wow -- Oak Park loos amazing." So said Minot Mayor Curt Zimbleman as he began the ceremony to re-open the park. "It is hard to imagine that five to six months ago, the condition of the valley and the condition of our wonderful and well-used parks. To see the largest park in Minot bounce back from being inundated with eight to 12 feet of water, mounds upon mounds of silt and destruction, to all components of the park, I am deeply touched. To see the smiles of the children playing here today truly is an appropriate reminder of why we are committed to restoring and improving our city after last year’s disaster.”

Last year’s disaster displaced 12,000 Minot residents. The water severely damaged or destroyed more than four thousand homes, Slowly, Minot residents are rebuilding. And many see the re-opening of Oak Parkas a symbol of that recovery.

“You know, you see the hope there," said Minot resident Cheryl Murkey. "It’s still sad the grass isn’t back, and things like that. But you see that it’s coming back, and it will be better.”

Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) graduated from Minot’s Bishop Ryan High School in 1975.

“This whole area,  both when I was a kid growing up and later, as a grown-up with my own kids – I lived just a block or two away, so I’d bring my kids down to play in the playground and picnic in the park," said Hoeven. "It brings back a lot of memories.”

Hoeven says he’s surprised the park looks as good as it does this soon after the flood.

“Not in a year, no.  I didn’t think they’d get this far in a year. They’ve done a great job.”

Mayor Curt Zimbelman says Oak Parkwill stand as a symbol of Minot’s resilience.

“I’m convinced that we will, as neighborhoods,  as a community, as a valley, be back stronger than ever.”

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