The Landscape Changes When You Are The Land Of Opportunity!
North Dakota, particularly Western North Dakota, had seen slow but steady growth for the last decade or two. Minot North Dakota had seen “better then” slow and steady but only by a thin margin. That was until The Minot Air Force Base added another bomber wing and at just about the same time the US Geological Team announced the largest oil find ever (and anywhere) was under Western North Dakota.
Rumors abounded about how Minot North Dakota may grow as large as Houston Texas over night. I think everyone I know or had visited with was very excited to be living in the midst of an economic boom while much of our country was facing/dealing with economic disaster.
Imagine a town of less then 30,000 people looking to grow to 100,000 over night and then who knows to where after that. People have literally been coming to Western North Dakota by the thousands as it is truly the land of opportunity today.
Then the unthinkable… a flood sent by torrential rains, greater then any flood in recorded history for Minot North Dakota. One forth of the housing was destroyed and the City infrastructure left in shambles. Imagine, 30,000 people with thousands more coming, no housing available prior to the flood, potable water system destroyed, lift stations destroyed leaving the sewage to back-up into many homes that were not destroyed by the flood and sewage being dumped directly into the raging river.
The river cut the town in two equal haves not allowing for traffic to cross from one side to the other. One side of town cut off from grocery stores, many cut off from their jobs, and of course some cut off from their family members.
Besides thousands of homes being lost so were many businesses and schools. Street lighting and traffic lights in the river valley were also destroyed. Facilities such as the State Fair Grounds, the zoo, nearly every park, and baseball diamond were left in shambles.
The flood was nine months ago and of course there are huge reminders everywhere you travel in the valley. Many like me are just returning to our homes after pouring thousands of dollars into restoring them (those that can be salvaged).
Minot North Dakota is still today’s land of opportunity but think about how all of this has affected the housing market. Home prices and rents have doubled in many cased. There is not a hotel room to be had even though four or more new hotels have been built in the last year. People and businesses want to come and share in the bountiful prosperity we offer but there is no place to house people or businesses.
I was just doing a property search for a friend and there were less then two dozen lots for sale and of those lots the average price was about $65,000.
We are starting to see a trickle of long time residents leaving Minot North Dakota turning into a steady stream. Those on a fixed income, especially those whose homes were destroyed, can not afford another mortgage and/or keep up with the inflation caused by such an influx of people coupled with no increase in competitive services and goods. When the time comes that those living in FEMA trailers are booted out of their temporary homes they will have no where to go and I believe the steady stream will be another flood, a flood of people who can not afford to stay.
Prosperity is a good thing, we all dream about it. Few have the vision to profit by it and to keep from being steamrollered over by it. Minot will survive this and grow and grow and grow. Pray for it’s people, the ones who set the foundation, that they will also survive it and not be forced away from their home. I for one never could have imagined how devastating a flood could be and how lengthy a recovery time is involved. Realistically I think the clean up alone will be close to 2 years and that the “real” recovery will be about five years.
I don’t want to discourage anyone from coming to the land of opportunity, God knows we need you. I just want to prepare you for the big problem of lack of housing before you come. If you can afford $250,000. or more…. No problem.
The good news is that spring is around the corner and people can live in campers and trailers until they find permanent housing. Campers and trailers just don’t work in an area where winter temps can reach 30 degrees below zero.