ECONOMIC BASE ANALYSIS OF MINNEWAUKAN
the community of Minnewaukan plans their economic future, it is
important that attention be paid to the recent past and current economy
of the community.
economic understanding will enable local leaders and business people to
better anticipate future economic problems, and it will place the needs
of the local economy in a clearer perspective.
lies in the North Central part of
, along the
. Many early settlers came here to raise cattle
and crops. Agriculture is
still a major part of the towns’ economic structure but other
industries, such as, tourism and computer processing hold promise.
Population of the town has declined from 450 in the late seventies to
318 counted in the year 2000 census. Several reasons have contributed to
the decline in population like older citizens moving to towns with
healthcare and senior housing, lack of jobs for younger persons, and
changes in the agriculture sector. Generally the population losses
primarily occurred as a result of deteriorating economic conditions in
agriculture. This is clearly borne out by the lower numbers of people,
particularly those of working age in the town. This out-migration is not
likely to stop unless new employment opportunities come to town.
has a much higher percentage of families in
the income levels below $30,000 annual income than the state income
levels; and a significantly lower percentage of families in the income
range above $50,000 annually than the state average. Minnewaukan is
slightly above the annual income average of
. A survey was taken in the late nineties to
obtain a matching financial grant for a new lagoon. The grant was denied
because the towns’ average income level was deemed too high for the
people in a town can adversely affect a businesses decision to locate in
Minnewaukan. Easy access on
highways 281 and 19 from towns, such as,
, and Carrington increase our labor force
capacity. Commuting in
is common as most citizens have access to
their own transportation. A
business that provides good paying jobs with benefits will have no
problem attracting a quality work force in Minnewaukan.
Good pay will also attract potential employees by allowing them
the chance to purchase nice homes at prices well below that of major
largest employer in Minnewaukan is that of government entities. As the
Benson County Seat Minnewaukan enjoys the luxury of being home to the
, Courthouse, Sheriffs Department, County
Highway Department, and several other Benson County Departments.
The School system employs a large number of persons, as does the
. Our high rate of government employees is a
major reason why Minnewaukans average income level is higher than that
of the Counties.
continues to be the largest private industry sector. Farms have grown
larger due to economics of scale; farms must become larger to survive.
This has resulted in a loss of small farms and families which has been a
key factor in the population loss. The trend continues to be larger
farms but of real concern is the advancing age of farmers in general.
High costs and risks are preventing younger farmers from taking over the
family farm or starting a farm on their own.
Government financed credit programs are available to help younger
farmers but lack of individual credit still prevents many from
participating in them. Niche and specialty crops may provide small
farmers high-income potential and are starting to prove successful.
Markets need to be found for these niche and specialty crops, so many
younger farmers can enjoy a life in agriculture.
retail, and service businesses have for the most part held their own in
Minnewaukan. A grocery
store, new convenience store, lounge, cafe, and motel thrive in town due
to an huge increase in tourism.
once several miles from the town is now on the
edge of the city limits. Fishing persons and hunters come here from
across the state and nation, drawn by our lengthy seasons and abundant
populations of waterfowl and fish. The
tourists dollars add to our retail businesses.
Minnewaukan contains two insurance businesses, several
carpenters, several hunting/fishing guides a construction company, bank,
flora/gift shop, and other small enterprises.
Businesses have remained stable since the early 1980's and
provide their owners with a nice income level.
Employment is limited to owners but a few employment
opportunities do exist. Tourism has the potential to enhance the towns
labor pool, as discussed earlier, consists of residents, both young and
old, and the residents of surrounding communities. Within a thirty mile
radios lie's Maddock,
. All the communities have the same situation
Minnewaukan has in that a large part of those towns residents would like
a job that pays well. In
many cases people will commute twenty to thirty miles for a good paying
job. Several Minnewaukan residents commute to
every day for work.
When looking at the current labor pool for a business in
Minnewaukan, one will have to also look at the labor pool in the
surrounding communities. Benson Counties Long Range Strategic Plan lists
unemployment in 1999 at 357 people.
Many of those unemployed are from the Spirit Lake Nation
Reservation but over 40 percent come from the rest of
residents who are unemployed would commute to
Minnewaukan as would a large number of persons looking for better pay or
other work that suites their ability.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY POINTS.
plowshares to computers and tourism.
As farms have grown larger over the years
's rural communities have seen a decline in
population due to the loss of farm families and main street businesses.
Replacing the loss of small farms and businesses due to less
people are the challenges Minnewaukan and rural towns across the state
have to overcome. Capitalizing on computer generated services and
outdoor tourism features shall help towns grow and have a prosperous
major key to Minnewaukans future is the development of an computer
information processing facility. An
information service center could provide up to 50 jobs.
A spot in
could be used to house a ten thousand square
foot facility. The business park has access to telephone, high speed
internet, electricity, water/sewer, available parking spaces, and
located on main street.
- Located on
- Empty buildings in town
can be used to house the center.
exits for a new building that will be equipped with high speed
- Job Service can help with
- Employee's can be found
from several communities.
- Minnewaukan needs to
maintain and build relationships with area economic development
- State Bank of
could help with financing options
- Professional job seekers
could be attracted by outdoor activities, small town atmosphere, and
good school system.
- Develop an economic
incentive plan to promote towards new businesses and target computer
- Outdoor product catalogue
businesses could be attracted to our outdoor town atmosphere.
- Outdoor travel services
are another option of interest.
- Study possibilities of
local investments for smaller local businesses.
and data processing services is projected to be the fastest growing
industry n the economy, with employment expected to increase 80 percent
between 2002 and 2010. Job
opportunities will be excellent for most workers; professional and
related workers enjoy the best prospects; reflecting continuing demand
for higher level skills needed to keep up with changes in technology.
Computer specialists will account for almost half of all employees in
services include data preparation and processing services, as well as
information retrieval services. Establishments
may provide payroll processing, credit reporting, data entry services,
and optical scanning services, as well as the leasing of computer time.
Usually information is collected from the clients databases,
processed, and passed to other online subscribers, to contract users, or
back to the client. With the
internet and electronic business creating tremendous volumes of data,
there is growing need to be able to store, manage, and extract data
the industry has both large and small firms, the average establishment
in computer and data processing services is relatively small:
approximately 80 percent of establishments employed fewer than 10
workers. The majority of jobs, however, are found in businesses that
employ 50 or more workers. Many small establishments in the industry are
startup firms that hope to capitalize on a market niche. The computer
related industries workforce remains younger than most, with large
proportions of college grads receiving well paying jobs out of college.
Minnewaukan could benefit immensely from a computer service firm hiring
young workers and paying them well.
has one of the highest penetration rates for
telephone service in the nation, with 98.9% of our people using wire
line and wireless service providers as well as several resellers.
There are 20 North Dakota-based telephone cooperatives and small
commercial companies in the state. Internet,
access is available to over 90% of our state's schools.
has points of presence (POPS) strategically
located throughout the state. The list of available telecommunications
services includes ISDN, ATM, xDSL, T1, T3, Frame Relay, SONFT, satellite
has many advantages to offer to an information service firm, such as, a
reliable workforce, quality educational system, a low property tax, low
utilities, high-speed telecommunications and excellent highways.
In fact, we've discovered that the most compelling encouragement
for businesses new to our town often comes from those who have enjoyed
success here in the past and look forward to a bright future, thanks to
the many resources Minnewaukan has to offer.
telephone access and a reliable workforce can help both small and large
companies effectively manage their databases and information services.
high-speed internet telephone and a computer reliable workforce exist in
Minnewaukan and the towns city leaders are willing to work with any
business wishing to use these tremendous assets.
rising waters of
have provided an fresh economic opportunity to
attracts hundreds of fishing families to our
small town every year. These fishing people come to catch plentiful
Walleye, Perch, Northern Pike, and Muskee out of the giant fresh water
lake. Area businesses
benefit from the dollars that are spent by the tourists. Houses have
been purchased by fishermen for a place to stay at when they visit
Minnewaukan. Key resources
are in place to attract more tourists to the town.
years ago a small group of smart thinking town residents got together
and set up a small dock, by the city lagoon, that stretched into the
growing waters of the Minnewaukan Flats.
Those residents, such as, George Howard, Richard Peterson, Donny
Thompson, Vern Thompson, Roger Huffman, and others set in motion the
development of a permanent dock area that now serves thousands of
fishing people every year. The Minnewaukan Community Club in conjunction
with the State Game and Fish Department have constructed a dock which
consists of a gravel parking area, steel rams for unloading/loading
boats, one dock by the steel ramps, one off ramp dock, and rock rip rap
protecting the beach. A
better ramp can be built using concrete flat slaps as rip rap to protect
the beach and allow boats to ease closer to the shoreline. Also, two
ramps can be placed into the water allowing better access into the busy
dock. Money is an issue
towards improving the dock but by cooperating with state agencies and
keeping expenses down future improvements can be made at the current
way to improve lake access is the development of a second dock location
at the Minnewaukan dump ground. Currently,
the dump ground is used for limited trash dumping.
A new dump ground site will have to be found because the current
site is an island surrounded by water on three sides.
The city council wants to develop the area for lake access along
with the Community Club but both sides will have to come to an mutual
agreement on certain issues. Once again money will be a sticking point
and state agencies will have to help in the financing and development.
A large advantage to the new dock site will be more protection
from the waves, which can make boat loading an adventure in the current
docks location. Less money
will have to be spent on yearly maintenance as the shore area around the
city dump ground does not need rip rap or dike protection. West end
access to Devils Lake is important for Minnewaukans expanding tourism
base and fishing persons want to fish the fresh waters that West Bay
Devils Lake offers.
of the Minnewaukan Community Club organized the development of an
outdoor fish cleaning station. Alan
and Cathy Nord along with Richard Peterson, Randy Thompson, George
Howard, Virgil Matthews, and others took the bull by the horns, devised
a building plan, got financing, and put in many volunteer hours to build
the project. The fish
cleaning station has added to the tourism services the town can offer to
the tourists bound to visit Minnewaukan.
Plans to make the fish cleaning station a winter heated building
have been developed but more project planning needs to take place.
tourism services in place;
RV sites and motel rooms
Creation of the
New water lines and sealed streets
Historic sites and events
Abundant game and fish
Bird watching sites
wide hike and bike trail is being considered
by several members of the Benson County Tourism Association.
The trail would connect all the cities of
, Esmond, and even smaller towns would be
connected by a hike/bike trail that could be as large as a 125 miles
making it one of the longest, continuous trails in
. Hopefully, the hike/bike trail catches public
support and several counties could form an alliance to develop the
has designated tourism as a key too enhanced
economic development. Minnewaukan
needs to forge ahead to develop relations with area development groups,
State Commerce Department, local businesses, conservation agencies, and
local residents to continue towards developing tourism opportunities for
tourists to enjoy. With the
natural wonders of
and surrounding scenic area's we are poised to
carve out a tourism niche. Thousands
of potential tourists might soon be on their way to our community and
Minnewaukan needs to be ready for them.
Minnewaukans location on the edge of a rising
, it is difficult to be precise regarding
socio-economic impacts. However, it would appear that the community is
experiencing an increase in its economic status.
the continued problems
has caused Minnewaukan it has also increased
economic tourism based activities. Several
individuals and businesses have taken advantage of the rising lake and
Minnewaukan has an upward swing economically.
is important to note that between 20% and 25% of new jobs in the
over the next ten years will be in computer
service related businesses. The current growth of rural
towns will depend on the creation of computer
related services. Certainly it is in Minnewaukans best interest to
attract, create, and help develop computer/information services.
the global internet highway and adopting to outdoor tourism will allow
Minnewaukan a chance to secure it's future with growth and success.
HIGHWAY 281 ROUTE CHANGE WITH
281 BUSINESS PARK AND RESIDENTIAL ZONE
water base has caused havoc with highway
routes and local roads. Highways
2, 281, 19, 57, and 20 have been raised several times during the last
eight years. Over one hundred and fifty million dollars of road
construction has taken place and more construction is on the way.
While, highways 2 and 19 have been raised to sufficient heights
away from flooding danger, Highway 281 lies in several miles of danger.
Should the lake rise three feet 281 would cease to exist and many
problems would impact travelers.
runs through Minnewaukan splitting the town in half. Solutions have been
studied by the North Dakota Department of Transportation and consist of
changing the existing 281 Highway route to a couple of different area's
or raising the current route by ten feet.
Many Minnewaukan residents want the current route to stay the
same but that might not be the preferred route of the ND Transportation
Department nor the Minnewaukan City Councils view.
Farmers Press, Richard Peterson Editor:
US 281 built up through Minnewaukan to a level of 1460 would be a
disaster. People living
along the highway would lose most of their front yards. The stone church
museum would likely have to be torn down.
Drainage would be totally disrupted.
It would be awful!
If the highway is protected by a
permanent dike, the cost of running the pumping stations in Minnewaukan
to get rid of rainfall would be horrible. I guarantee that you wouldn't
want to pay the taxes or fees that would have to be levied to cover such
The subsoil in the lakebed is unstable.
If 281 were built on its present location, the road would be like
a roller coaster, requiring excessive maintenance costs, as well as
increased danger, there will be 25-foot ditches on both sides of the
There are simply too many negatives.
Common sense dictates that the highway has to be moved to the
west. But it's not going to be moved to the west because of the
in this column. It will be moved to the west because the Federal Highway
Administration simply cannot justify spending $30 million more than it
has to in keeping the road in its present location."
281 will be built but as of now we do not know where. The present
location of the highway as was stated in the above article has many
drawbacks and the most likely route of US 281 will be west of
Minnewaukan. This will mean
less traffic through Minnewaukan and potentially less business customers
for our service and tourism businesses. Where some people see doom and
gloom many Minnewaukan residents and the city council see hope for a
business park could be built along the new route of US 281.Current
businesses could move to the business parks location.
New businesses could be attracted to the business park with newly
constructed lots near a major highway.
An engineering firm has given the city council pre-engineered
quotes on expenses, such as, roads, water, and sewer lines.
Landowners would be willing to sell land towards a new business
park. Once the location of US 281 is determined Minnewaukan should jump
into action with the process of developing the business park along the
determined highway location.
are the major drawback of the project but preliminary costs do not seem
out of line for the resources Minnewaukan has to offer. Preliminary
costs are estimated at $250,000 - $400.000 for an access road, new
sewer/water lines, and land purchases.
Recently, several large grants have been made to a pasta plant in
and for a hike/bike trail on the Spirit Lake
Nation. Those grants totaled
around $1,100,000 and as of yet no significant gains in employment have
been made in those towns because of the money. Minnewaukan could show a
significant gain in employment with a new business park being able to
attract new manufacturing businesses to our area.
Boat and boat motor manufacturers could set up in the park and
use Minnewaukans tremendous lake access for test rides, commercials, and
as a key selling point to customers.
Minnewaukan has no current location for a major manufacturing
plant that would require 40,000 or more of square foot space.
The time is now to develop a business park along the route of the
new projected US 281 Highway.
space exists South of Minnewaukans city limits. No commercial or
residential development can occur on land below 1455 elevation and land
above 1455 to 1459'11 can only be developed if fill is brought in to a
height of 1460.
of Minnewaukan the elevation sits at 1460 and above over most of the
land running to
could offer potential residents with beautiful
lots for residential development. As
is with the business park project new streets, water/sewer lines, and
zoning surveys would be expensive. Bonds
could be floated to meet the costs and developers might be required to
sell lots to potential residents before utility projects will be
residents area's and a business park should be part of Minnewaukans long
range strategic plan. Committee's
need to be formed to look into expansion efforts with state and federal
agencies being contacted for technical advice and financial support. Do
not look at the new highway location as being a detriment but as an
asset to future growth and plan to build new businesses along the
highway, while allowing lakefront areas to grow with residential sites.
process in such ventures will be to re-create the Minnewaukan
Enterprises Corporation. Many
of the members of the organization have served well and continue to do
so. Other members are on the organization as just names and bring
nothing to the enterprise corporation. Settle on a new board and bring
enthusiasm back to the members. Minnewaukan
Enterprises and the city council could work hand in hand in the
development of the new business park and attraction of businesses. The
city council needs such an organization to help with financial options
as the city works on zoning and permit processes.
Together both boards can bring about future expansion of
future looks bright for Minnewaukan but much work lies ahead. Look at
the success of others and emulate that success while also being creative
with your own ideas!
of the Minnewaukan
Economic Development Corporation:
- Tom Lang-President
- Richard Peterson-Sec/Tres.
- P.A. Feist
- Robert Eback
- David Sears
- Curtis Hvinden
- Kay Griffin.