In State of the City address, Grand Forks mayor asks for investment
Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown is calling for investment in the city on all fronts, including safety, development, social infrastructure and even "dazzle." "Invest. Now is the time. Grand Forks is the place," Brown said in his 12th State of the Cit...
Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown is calling for investment in the city on all fronts, including safety, development, social infrastructure and even “dazzle.”
“Invest. Now is the time. Grand Forks is the place,” Brown said in his 12th State of the City address Wednesday at the Alerus Center.
To a record audience of about 550, Brown recognized the city’s many accomplishments brought by previous investment.
One area of the city’s success is public safety, with a police department on track for national accreditation and a fire department that now has an improved protection rating, said Brown, who has been mayor since 2000.
He also praised public health workers for fighting the tuberculosis outbreak, and he recognized many other community groups for working toward “The Grand Forks Promise” of safety, affordability, commitment to youth, recreation and opportunities to be engaged.
Brown thanked the many local leaders who have brought Grand Forks to where it is today, saying the city has been primed for its next big steps.
One of these steps will be a Blue Ribbon Commission on Social Infrastructure, which Brown introduced in his speech.
“This Blue Ribbon Commission will seek out the strengths and weaknesses we have in providing for all our residents,” Brown said. Lead by City Council member Bret Weber, the commission will be comprised nonprofit groups, the private sector and general community members, Brown said.
It’s also important for the city to continue investing in its partnership with UND, which has brought many benefits including the nationally-known unmanned aircraft systems research, Brown said.
He paused during his speech for video comments from Gov. Jack Dalrymple, North Dakota’s congressional delegation, all of whom congratulated Grand Forks on UAS.
“Grand Forks is a perfect example of all the progress we are making (as a state) and will continue to make,” Dalrymple said.
Brown also praised the city’s investments in developmental infrastructure, such as roads and bike paths, as well as involvement in regional development, such as the Red River Valley Water Supply Project. The latter would bring water from the Missouri River to the Red River Valley in the event of a drought.
In addition to building strong necessities for residents, Brown said he wants to invest in Grand Forks’ “dazzle.”
He noted potential for projects downtown and on 42nd Street as examples of “dazzling things to come.”
He listed possibilities for the 42nd Street “Destination Corridor”: a Veterans Memorial Park, an aquarium, a museum and more.
“We are a community that loves art,” Brown said, and “We can support it all.”
Despite all of the growth in Grand Forks, the biggest thing the city has built is confidence, Brown said. “I am proud of Grand Forks.... Let’s capitalize on these opportunities. Let’s make investments.”