After seven months, flood-threatened Minnewaukan, N.D., will have grocery storeThe flood-threatened community of Minnewaukan, N.D., soon will have a local grocery store and gas station for the first time in seven months. Spirit Water Grocery and Gas also will include a café when it opens Saturday, according to Joanna Potts, business manager for Delorme Enterprises, which owns the new business as well as Spirit Water Inn Resort in Minnewaukan.
By: Kevin Bonham, Grand Forks Herald
The flood-threatened community of Minnewaukan, N.D., soon will have a local grocery store and gas station for the first time in seven months.
Spirit Water Grocery and Gas also will include a café when it opens Saturday, according to Joanna Potts, business manager for Delorme Enterprises, which owns the new business as well as Spirit Water Inn Resort in Minnewaukan.
The former McQuoid’s Grocery, which also sold gasoline, closed last June. Since then, Minnewaukan has had no grocery store or gas station.
“It’s wonderful,” Mayor Mark Motis said. “The closest place to get gas has been Oberon (N.D.) and that’s about 10 miles away.”
Minnewaukan, the Benson County seat, is located about 25 miles west of the city of Devils Lake.
The café also will be something new for the community.
Minnewaukan now has one bar/restaurant, Rick’s Place, which is open for dinner in the evening. But it had been open at lunchtime for a couple of hours during the construction season, according to the mayor.
Since McQuoid’s Grocery closed, local residents have had to drive about 20 miles for groceries.
The new store will open at noon Saturday. It will be open 6 a.m. to midnight seven days a week, according to Potts.
Minnewaukan has been a victim of the 19-year-old Devils Lake flood. In the early 1990s, the lake was at least eight miles away.
Last summer, a 3,000-foot-long temporary levee was built on the south and east sides of the community to keep water from inundating Minnewaukan Public School, the Spirit Water Inn and several other homes and businesses.
A new school and a housing and business district currently are being built on higher ground about two miles away, in what is being called West Minnewaukan.
However, the majority of the community, including the main business district and the Benson County Courthouse, are built high enough to be out of danger of lake flooding.
The new school is scheduled to be ready by the 2012-13 school year.
But the city is waiting for a federal environmental assessment to be completed before construction of infrastructure can begin in the new subdivision. At an October meeting with Gov. Jack Dalrymple, a FEMA official indicated the review should be completed by February.
“We lost a whole construction season waiting for that approval,” Motis said. “Once we get it, then we can get to business.”
Minnewaukan’s population has dropped from about 320 in 2000 to 224 in the 2010 Census.
Local officials estimate the population now is about 200, as residents of flood-damaged or flood-threatened homes have accepted flood-related property acquisitions and have moved away. More than 30 houses have been moved or destroyed.
Reach Bonham at (701) 780-1110; (800) 477-6572, ext. 110; or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.