The five nominees for the Minot Park Board of Directors see the potential to advance big projects at Minot and build on past progress.
“We’ve done a good job of making things better, making things better with a very, very minimal tax increase for the citizens of Minot and I think we can continue to do that,” said incumbent Chuck Emery.
Incumbents Perry Olson and Mike Schmitt are also seeking to retain their seats, while Logan Longtin and Justin Hammer are hoping to clinch one of three open spots on the board in the June 14 municipal elections.
Hammer said his goal will be to engage and involve user groups, particularly bringing more events and economic development to the city.
“I will bring a lot of energy. I want to build relationships with user groups. I think there are a lot of relationships that are already great. I think there are other user groups that could really benefit from the park district, and the park district would be more of a facilitator to help those user groups grow in number. These user groups, in turn, will turn around and help the park district grow,” said Hammer.
Emery said his priority was to develop the family recreation area west of Minot. He added that he would like to explore the option of a 1% sales tax, which could raise about $11 million and replace the roughly $8 million currently collected in property taxes.
“I want to continue to build on what I think has been the best thing we’ve done in the last four years, and that was the combination of parks and recreation,” says Olson. “I think bringing them together created a system that made a lot more sense and allowed us to offer more to the community and citizens and we need to continue to build on that, getting more people to use our facilities and our programs.
Asked about their top projects, Olson and Emery listed the Maysa Arena turf and other basketball courts. Schmitt wants to see a field at Maysa and more courts to expand recreational opportunities for everyone. Hammer has similar priorities, but also thinks a fourth ice track at Maysa would benefit para-athletes.
Longtin said he would like to see bike paths widened and facilities made more accessible to all abilities. He would also push for Wi-Fi in city parks and additional activities for families and seniors that indoor turf, mixed-use spaces and green spaces can provide.
“I see a lot of development opportunities for our parks and public spaces to make Minot an even healthier, more welcoming community, and I would love to be part of that process to make that happen,” said Longtin.
Candidates mentioned a desire to see an aquatic facility. Olson said it was important to lay the groundwork with the school district to eventually partner with a facility.
“I feel like it all comes down to what the voters want” says Olson. “If people want it, then it will happen. If they don’t, they won’t, but I think we’ve kept that door open to increase swimming opportunities.
Schmitt said the Park District has many projects on its wish list, but it depends on what residents want.
“This is going to require a lot of input from the community. We will have to talk a lot with individuals. he said, “We’re going to have to interact with the community on how we want to do these projects if that’s what the community wants.