The data unveiled recently as part of Minot’s One Brand campaign was something of an early Christmas present.
The research, compiled by Odney and presented to community stakeholders on Dec. 9, showed that most Minot-area residents surveyed have a positive view of our community. In fact, 86.4 percent of respondents said they have a very favorable or somewhat favorable opinion of Minot. In addition, 65.7 percent of responders believed Minot to be growing and improving.
The best part of reading through the details of the data? Realizing that it confirms exactly what supporters of our community continue to stress: Minot is a great place to live, and the often-silent majority believes our community is growing, prospering, and headed in the right direction.
The One Brand campaign under development is meant to strengthen Minot’s identity, and to assist various community stakeholders to reinforce their working relationships for the betterment of Minot. Now, armed with data that shows more than 86 percent of survey respondents view Minot favorably and two-thirds believe Minot is growing and improving, the work of translating the data to real-world impacts can begin.
The data was certainly a welcome dose of positivity, and it also serves to validate what City of Minot leaders and others have been saying all along: There are great and positive things happening in our community, despite the naysayers who choose to sit on the sidelines and complain rather than actually getting involved in community activities and working to make Minot an even better city.
In fact, the survey showed that only 8.3 percent had an unfavorable view of Minot, and 4.9 percent had a very unfavorable view of the city. While those numbers represent a significant number of area residents that we must work harder to engage, the combined 13.2 percent also represents a clear minority. Perhaps we are doing some things right in Minot after all.
That’s not to say everything is perfect; there is much work ahead to make Minot the community we know it can be. We knew that before this survey was conducted in November, and the data sheds light on areas that need improvement. The survey showed that roads and traffic, followed by city government and community leadership, were the areas that most need improvement. Business recruitment and retention, affordable housing, and the cost of living were also areas tagged as needing improvement.
Minot’s roads do need work, and that’s why for the past few years we have directed more budget dollars to our roads, which has made construction seasons extremely busy with significant projects. Our backlog of road projects has been well-documented during budget discussions over the past couple of years, and we’re committed to making upgrades to our road system moving forward. Yes, that means there will be more road construction around the city in 2020, but roads and other infrastructure don’t magically fix themselves overnight; it takes time, funding, and hard work to upgrade even the most basic infrastructure needs.
We also weren’t shocked by the sentiment that our community needs more affordable housing; but we’re also working on solutions. Creating more affordable housing is a major component of the $74.3 million we were awarded through HUD’s Disaster Resilience Competition with at least $32 million of it dedicated to affordable housing. The South Park project to rehabilitate and expand affordable housing in south Minot is complete, and the Blu on Broadway project will create even more affordable housing units. Both projects highlight leveraging HUD funds with additional investment from public and private entities on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
The release of the data is only one step in the One Brand campaign. There is much work ahead to provide the necessary tools and assistance to community organizations so they can help spread the One Brand message. But that responsibility lies with members of our community, too. If you’re happy with a project going on in the City, it’s OK to speak up. If you’ve been part of a successful project, it’s OK to share your thoughts and opinions on that success. If you have a complaint or a criticism of a process or a project, voicing that complaint in a responsible manner can help us address the problem.
It’s time for the majority to be not-so-silent any longer and to help drive the narrative about the positive things happening in our community. We’ve always known this to be true, but the data from the One Brand campaign clearly shows there are many silent Minot supporters and believers out there who want our community to continue to grow and prosper. Remember: It’s your community, too.
Sincerely, City Hall
You can find more about what’s happening at the City of Minot at minotnd.org, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. We’d also encourage you to sign up for our monthly electronic newsletter on our website.