I came across a great Chicago Tribune article from Sunday which detailed our city's recovery from the Flood of 1997. It's great to see the "Rebuilt, Renewed, Reborn" Grand Forks get such positive publicity. In my opinion, some pretty amazing things have happened and are continuing to happen in this city and it's fabulous to read glowing pieces like this.
"By virtually every barometer, this northern outpost that gave the world Cream of Wheat and a perennial college hockey powerhouse is on a run that makes real estate agents and urban planners salivate."
"In the last decade, the region added almost 12 percent more jobs. All the public schools are nearly new or rehabbed. A new river greenway twice the size of New York City's Central Park is a short walk from sold-out condos being built downtown. And, on Sunday afternoon, the city is hosting a free rib dinner in its stunning, multiuse arena."You can't buy publicity like that.
"Everyone concedes it has been a rocky trek to urban renewal, and scars remain. But Grand Forks perseveres."
"Different people point to different events as turning points in the recovery. Some cite a change in mayors, from Owens, who generated an outpouring of sympathy and support, to Dr. Mike Brown, perceived as energetic and visionary."
"Brown, an obstetrician/gynecologist, concedes that Owens made some visionary decisions, including moving ahead with plans for the $80 million, city-owned Alerus Center and supporting the clearing of hundreds of houses for the greenway."
"Nearly everyone agrees that the cornerstone of the turnaround is the 2,200-acre Grand Forks Greenway, a $409 million system of dikes and flood walls that runs for 8 miles on either side of the Red River and is designed to handle a crest about 13 feet above the 1997 level. Largely disguised as wooded, open space with golf courses for duffers and Frisbee throwers, the Greenway also includes a 20-mile trail, picnic shelters, campgrounds and a long sledding hill along one of the levees."
"Observers say all this helped create and maintain a buzz in Grand Forks that generated commercial investment and growth unlike anything the city had seen since perhaps the boom years of the 1890s, when local miller Frank Amidon invented Cream of Wheat. About 60 stores, including Lowe's, Best Buy, Kohl's and Old Navy, have arrived in a shopping district on the south end of town."
"Grand Forks' sales tax collections hit an all-time high last year and the population is about 2,000 more than in 1996."