Compare Minot to Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks, and Williston — what’s Minot’s competitive advantage? What’s our leg up? What’s our niche? And how should we go about using our advantage to advance our community?

It is pretty easy to come up with an advantage for the comparison cities in the question: State capitol, three universities and two interstates, UND, and "heart of the Bakken" respectively. I would argue that Minot, lacking any of those dominating features, has the advantage of being a "just right Midwestern community." We are diverse in our economy, educational opportunities, arts and entertainment, housing choices, and shopping. Minot is truly a "North Dakota nice" friendly community, retaining that small town characteristic even though we have grown to almost fifty thousand. Life here is pleasant and at an enjoyable pace. Our commutes are easy. So is our shopping. We need to recognize what we have and be prouder and louder about it. There are many specific things we could point to in various categories like MSU, two Class A railroads and major highways, proximity to the Bakken, and Minot AFB, but I believe it is the whole package that makes Minot unique, and we should recognize that, take pride in it, and promote it.

— Mark Jantzer

This candidate did not provide an answer to the question.

— Paul Pitner

Community spirit, grit, and a small town flavor (where we know and respect our neighbors) characterize Minot and help distinguish us from these other cities.

We pull together as a community, rather than just a group of individuals – this was best seen in our resilience during and after the flood. It's just natural for neighbor to help neighbor, for people to work very hard to overcome adversity, and for us to work together.

Thankfully, we haven't had the issues with crime that have plagued Williston, it's much easier to get around than with Fargo's sprawl, we're not nearly as dependent on government as Bismarck,and are University plays an important role in, but does not dominate, as in Grand Forks. Overall, I think our quality of life compares very well.

The raw ingredients are all here, particularly in terms of our people, to become a much better city. One of the things we need to reestablish, however, is a shared vision of where we want to go, and prioritize the steps we take to get there. The MakeMinot movement deserves a lot of credit, for being a catalyst, and I very much hope we can harness its energy to keep growing better.

— Stephan Podrygula

This candidate did not provide an answer to the question.

— David Shomento

This candidate did not provide an answer to the question.

— Edward Montez

Among the cities mentioned, I don't think we can or should compare ourselves to all of these communities, because it like comparing apples to oranges. If we make geographic comparisons, we should look at Williston and Bismarck/Mandan. I think we already draw a large number of Williston's residents to Minot for shopping and entertainment. When looking south, it is unreasonable to compare our community of just under 50,000 to a metro area of 80,000+ in addition to being a state capital. The population argument is true for Fargo, adding to it their draw from western Minnesota and northern South Dakota. I believe that Grand Forks might be the most appropriate comparison on the list because of it's population, access to an Air Force Base, and history of flooding.

So, what sets us aside? Our geographic advantage is obvious because we are centrally located. We have a beautiful terrain with hills and valley's. We host two of the largest entertainment events in the state, which are envied even by the larger cities. Our parks are second to none. We are open for business and encourage small business owners to give Minot a chance. We need to promote the Magic in our city.

— Lisa M. Olson


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