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Devils Lake Journal - Devils Lake, ND
  • Co-ops complete major volunteer project in Minot

  • It was a great day for Minot’s Oak Park last Wednesday, May 30, when 13 North Dakota electric cooperatives and the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC) pooled their resources and rewired the park.


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  • It was a great day for Minot’s Oak Park last Wednesday, May 30, when 13 North Dakota electric cooperatives and the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC) pooled their resources and rewired the park.
    “This means a great deal for the community,” said Minot Mayor Curt Zimbelman. “This will be a big lift for our city.”
    Zimbelman made a surprise visit to the park to thank the 60-plus cooperative employees who descended on the park to rewire 59 electrical pedestals, bathrooms, picnic shelters and other structures there. Oak Park was badly damaged after the most devastating flood in Minot’s history inundated it with up to 10 feet of water. Around 12,000 people were evacuated when the Souris River flooded Minot last year.
    Dennis Hill, executive vice president and general manager of NDAREC, said the project was a way for electric cooperatives to show they truly believe in the cooperative principle of commitment to community.
    “We try to live that out in the communities in which we serve on a daily basis, but every once in a while we like to go a bit bigger and make an even stronger statement that we're really serious about this," Hill said. "It isn't something that we say; it's something that we try to do."
    Bruce Carlson, Manager of Verendrye Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Velva, with a service center in Minot, said he was amazed at the outpouring of support from around the state.
    “It’s a big day for us. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined having this many REC employees from across the state helping with a project this large.”
    The labor provided by the co-ops will be free and the materials will be paid for by a combination of FEMA money and donations.
    Minot officials have been scrambling to get the park back in shape for a community celebration on June 22 to mark the one-year anniversary of the flood. The entire park had to be scraped clean of silt left by the flood and all of the grass had to be reseeded.
    Ron Bieri, president of the Minot Park Board, said the community has rallied around Oak Park and it will be a huge morale boost for citizens once the park is back to normal.
    “For these guys to do all of this in one day is really something,” Bieri said. “This will put us leaps and bounds ahead of the schedule we have.”
    The cooperatives that helped in this project were:
    Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Bismarck
    Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative, Columbus
    Capital Electric Cooperative, Bismarck
    Central Power Electric Cooperative, Minot
    Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative, Milnor
    McLean Electric Cooperative, Garrison
    Page 2 of 2 - Minnkota Power Cooperative, Grand Forks
    Mountrail Williams Electric Cooperative, Williston
    Nodak Electric Cooperative, Grand Forks
    North Central Electric Cooperative, Bottineau
    Northern Plains Electric Cooperative, Carrington
    North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives, Mandan
    Roughrider Electric Cooperative, Hazen
    Verendrye Electric Cooperative, Velva and Minot.
     
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