Gathering space plan worth considering

One of the more exciting components of Minot’s disaster resilience program is the plan for a public gathering space in the downtown area. The city is eyeing a parcel of land currently a Trinity Hospital parking lot east of Broadway, just north of Third Avenue, as top choice for the park.

The plan could bloom into a terrific centerpiece for the city in a high-profile location and provide a handsome outdoor setting for community events.

Or the plan could result in an under-utilized space that deteriorates in the winter, costs a fortune to maintain and doesn’t attract entertainment that brings out the community. Oh, this plan absolutely merits consideration, make no mistake. It’s just that its outcome will be determined by devilish details and how much scrutiny the project undergoes.

Addressing a few questions in particular will help. What are the maintenance plans and what will that cost over and above the resilience money? Does the proximity to Broadway present a safety risk and if so, how will it be mitigated for? Do event promoters and organizers feel they can market the space? How will this park impact other even venues?

Presumably these questions are being asked and answered; along with the countless other ones a venture of this scale requires. All of this information needs to be made public so residents can determine their own level of enthusiasm.

Moving ahead with considering the project is real progress on the resilience plan. Let’s just hope all of the details are well reviewed before leaping in. Many in Minot are less than thrilled with the downtown garage developments. This would be an ill-advised time to add fuel to the fire of public skepticism.