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Published September 30, 2011, 09:11 PM

Minot Officials Look to Grand Forks in Flood Recovery Process

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Efforts to enhance flood protection in Minot are already underway and Minot city officials are turning to Grand Forks for help.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Efforts to enhance flood protection in Minot are already underway and Minot city officials are turning to Grand Forks for help.

About a dozen officials from Ward County spent the day in Grand Forks on Friday.

They came with a lot of questions and Grand Forks leaders are hoping they left with answers and guidance for their next steps in the recovery process.

"We just give them a little bit of guidance. We can't tell them exactly what to do, but we're here for any questions they have," Grand Forks communications specialist John Bernstrom said.

And that's all Minot officials are looking for: answers.

"Obviously there's some frustrations out there. People want answers. We just want to make sure that they get the right answers. It's amazing the pride of a North Dakotan as to how much work people have gotten accomplished in such a short period of time," Minot flood recovery coordinator John Zimmerman said.

More than three months after floodwaters topped the dikes in Minot, homeowners continue to clean up. About 4,000 homes were affected by the flood and city officials want to put proper protection in place to keep people from moving away.

"Minot is hurting right now. They need hope, they need promise, they need a plan and that's what we're here hoping to do," Mouse River enhanced flood control project manager Jason Westbrock said.

The dikes surrounding the Red River were built after the 1997 flood.

Grand Forks city officials have helped many other cities recovering from devastating flood waters to build their own successful flood protection plan.

"And not that the situation we were in in '97 is exactly the same as what they're going through right now, but we do have the experience of going through a flood, building a flood protection project and knowing the flood protection project works," Bernstrom said.

"We're going to do basically the same thing. We're going to use mostly dike-ing with some flood walls, some flood gates, and as much greenway as we can put in," Minot flood recover citizens committee chair Orlin Backes said.

Grand Forks was the first city to assist Minot when floodwaters took over the town. Now the knowledge Grand Forks has is proving to be invaluable to Minot's recovery.

"Think big. It's unfortunate that we're at the point that we're at right now and as it was for Grand Forks in 1997, but there's a lot of good things that can come out of it with patience and perseverance and very good planning," Zimmerman said.

Housing and Infrastructure are the two biggest concerns Minot is facing right now. There was a housing shortage prior to the flood and with at least 4,000 homes affected by flood waters, the city is looking to find the right solutions as soon as possible.