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Park board candidate Jeff Risk wants improvements to continue

Minot voters will select two candidates from a field of five to fill positions on the Minot Park Board in the June 9 city election.

The election is being conducted with absentee ballots. Ballots must be postmarked June 8 or delivered to a drop box by 4 p.m. on June 9. The drop box in Minot is the library box in front of the Ward County Administration Building.

Candidate Jeff Risk, a long-time Minot resident and retired educator, says the merger of the city’s former recreation department with the park district sparked his interest in serving on the board. He believes his life and work experiences in recreation make him a good fit. He shares his thoughts as follows on parks and recreation.

What services of the park district do you and your family use most? What do you like about them?

I have lived in Minot for 45 years and it is my observation that if possible, we settle for average. I would like to see improvements to our existing facilities and when the budget allows make the quality of facilities a priority. My wife and I currently use or frequent many of the facilities in Minot. They would include our parks for celebrations, walking and Arts in the Park. We also use or attend events throughout the year at Corbett field, the softball complexes, MAYSA Arena, City Auditorium, Minot Zoo, Hammond Park and Polaris Park.

What is one initiative or project you would like to see the park district pursue in the next four years?

I am not driven by any special interest to run for this board. I do feel that by combining the two departments, the blurred line between parks and recreation is gone and the budget is large enough to make improvements in our community.

Are you satisfied with the direction the park district is taking with its long-term planning and future park/recreation opportunities or are there areas you would want reconsidered?

I do like the direction the city has taken to make parks and recreation one department. This was long overdue and is one of the main reasons I would like to be a part of this board. The parks and recreation departments have only been together for 13 months; that is not enough time to make a determination of the current board’s direction. I am not sure how many of the current board’s discussion topics would fall into the long-term planning category. I do like much of the board discussion-and would enjoy the challenge of building the needed partnerships to make many of them a reality in our community.

Do you believe the park district has been a wise steward of its dollars or are there areas where the district should be spending more or spending less?

Looking at things from the outside, I believe the park board has done a good job staying within their budget. Have they been wise stewards of the dollars? To answer this question would take a more in-depth study of the current budget.

Please describe your background and the perspectives you would bring to the park board.

My background includes a BA in Recreation, BS in Physical Education, teaching physical education starting the athletic programs at Nedrose High School, and years spent traveling in North Dakota and all surrounding states to officiate college basketball. I am currently the commissioner of the Mon-Dak Conference and also have duties with the North Star and GPAC conferences. My past experience has allowed me to understand that quality of facilities and the administration of them are directly linked to the usage/enjoyment of the participants. Current board members were elected as Park Board members. Now that the board positions are parks and recreation, I feel I could bring a better overall perspective to the board.

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