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Paul Gorte: The light still shines brightly in East Grand Forks

This article was written for the Herald's Greater Grand Forks Community section, which was published in the Herald's Aug. 27 print edition.

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The more things change, the more they remain the same. A year ago we talked about the challenging times we were facing. Little did we know what was to come.

Empty shelves. Continuing supply chain issues. Inflation unseen in years. One disease continues while another arrives to challenge our resources. A disruptive European war. Sometimes it seems overwhelming. Yes, as we discussed last year, we are resilient. We will find ways to get things done. It might be different. Nevertheless, we still meet and overcome the challenges that face us.

Although East Grand Forks, and the Greater Grand Forks community, may only be a small part of the nation and the world, it is our home. It is where we live. And work. And shop. And play. The light still shines brightly in East Grand Forks. It is the heritage we will leave to our descendants.

Perhaps the endless winds of winter and summer and fall and spring are meaningful of new beginnings for us. They bring us new ideas and new possibilities.

There are new shopping opportunities in East Grand Forks. This list is not intended to be complete or exclusive. Have you visited the new St. Michel Furniture in the old Shopko/Pamida building? Dollar General is now open and serving customers. Have you tried The Shire in the Mall? Or the Wired Bean? The Walgreens Pharmacy opened. And soon there will be a new Molly Yeh restaurant open for your pleasure.

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Old favorites remain, so many to patronize: Cabelas, T'n'T Outfitters, and Leisureland RV; Hugo’s; Riverwalk Mall and River Cinema 15; Blue Moose, Mike’s Pizza Pub, Up North Pizza Pub, The Spud Jr., Boardwalk, Little Bangkok, Casa Mexico, Bully Brew, Caribou Coffee; so many more. There are also numerous social clubs in East Grand Forks, including the American Legion, Eagles Aerie, and VFW. Insurance providers and financial institutions provide needed services, as do local medical providers of all types.

East Grand Forks has a healthy and thriving industrial sector serving international, national, regional and local markets. American Crystal has been a vital part of this community for a very long time. RJ Zavoral & Sons and Mayo Manufacturing have made East Grand Forks home for many years. There is a long list of local entrepreneurs who have established and grown businesses in East Grand Forks. Among others, the list includes Northern Valley Machine, Dakota Peat, Northland Custom Woodworking, Lumber Mart, Hawkes Manufacturing, Valley Truck, MGI Grain, Porta-Mix Concrete, A & L Potato, Bert’s Trucking, Northern Valley Potato Growers Association, Big Tex Trailer World, Dahl Funeral Home, Stennes Granite, Pace Painting and Drywall, Triangle Coach and Northdale Oil.

The East Grand Forks Parks and Rec Department has been working diligently to identify improvements to its facilities and services and ways to fund the improvements. Exciting changes are in the offing. Valley Golf, the many parks and the Greenway provide outdoor recreational opportunities.

Northland Community and Technical College continues to prepare students for the workplace as well as retrain those already employed. NCTC has served the community well for many years. It places 97% of its students. The college is a remarkable continuing success story.

East Grand Forks has been working on other projects that will enhance the quality of life in East Grand Forks and the area. The city worked with First Children’s Finance to prepare a strategy to increase the supply of child care, including infant and toddler child care. The six goals focus on ways to grow the supply of child care, provide an adequate supply or child care workers, and ways to reduce costs to make child care more affordable. Economic Development is working with the Wave Academy at East Grand Forks High School, “Senior High,” to connect the program with local businesses to improve the preparedness of high school students for their futures in the workplace, at whatever occupation the student chooses.

East Grand Forks is fortunate to have a wide variety of businesses generally owned and operated by local business people. It is a real strength of the city — its backbone.

How many empty storefronts or business sites do you see in East Grand Forks? Whenever a business leaves, another steps up to take advantage of the local opportunities. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Local business people using all the available space to serve local customers.

Paul Gorte is the economic development director for the city of East Grand Forks.

Related Topics: EAST GRAND FORKS
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