MAGIC Fund’s impact will take years to evaluate

It’s easy to have an opinion on the Minot City Council approving use of up to $1.3 million of MAGIC Fund dollars to create a business revolving loan fund and to hire a marketing firm to consult on branding Minot.

At least it’s easy to have an opinion based on general principle. It will take years to be able to judge if the use of funds was successful enough and craft an opinion based on practicality.

It’s much too soon to form a practical position now.

The revolving loan fund, which would close the gap in finance for qualifying businesses with most of their funding in place from private lenders, certainly can’t be evaluated anytime soon. How useful will it be to recipients? Will those businesses then succeed? Will the loan fund result in economic development, create jobs, increase the tax base, attract new residents to our communities? Will repayment work efficiently?

Even in time, the answers to some of these questions isn’t going to be black and white. Investment in one type of business might well need to be evaluated differently than another type of business.

The same wait-and-see approach applies to a marketing firm tasked with branding Minot. Exactly how long will it take to craft this branding? What all does it encompass? What does it take to implement it?

What’s different between these two projects is that even in time, it will be much harder to determine if the branding is a success. Does success only mean an increase in visitors and business investment because of a new “brand” for the community? How does one measure civic pride, if that is also one of the goals? Will a brand inspire residents to shop local, attend local events and patronize local businesses more.

Yes, some of the parameters will be set when it comes to what this branding will include and what the overall goals are. Then, perhaps, it will be easier to evaluate.

But it won’t be any time soon.

Minot Daily News has heard numerous opinions from the public since discussion of these two projects began.

Still MDN believes patience is called for at this time.

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