Main Street USA, Devils Lake

. J. Reed Anderson, GM DL Journal
ND Governor Doug Burgum presenting the idea behind the Main Street Initiative.

Roughly thirty Devils Lake community leaders, local legislators, and state agency representatives gathered at the Lake Region Heritage Center, Wednesday afternoon to learn more about the governor's Main Street Initiative.  This is a program that the governor hopes will revitalize downtowns and at the same time lessen the financial burden on municipalities.  

The Main Street Initiative is built on three pillars:  building vibrant, healthy communities; using existing infrastructure; and creating opportunities for 21st century workforces in North Dakota communities.  "This isn't some government, top-down program," said the governor.  "This is towns deciding what to do themselves.  If you decide you want to, wonderful, we're here.  If a town decides not to, that's fine, too."

Towns need to discover and determine what differentiates them from other towns, especially when it comes to attracting jobs and workers, said the governor.  "What differentiates Devils Lake," he said, "is that it has what retiring Baby Boomers and Millennials want and like, and that's a strong downtown and the walking and biking distance of everything."

Revitalizing with the Main Street Initiative promotes a higher density of population downtown.  Rather than pushing for new development and the necessity of the needed infrastructure (roads, sewer, water) renovating or building new in a downtown saves on property taxes, because the infrastructure is in place, and brings new residents into the area which also lessens the tax burden on long-time residents, and thus the burden on municipalities.  And these new residents, said the governor, can be the millennials looking for vibrancy, a 21st century job, and a community they love.  

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