Community-Driven Solutions for Smaller Cities and Towns.

Position:News & Numbers

Community-driven projects often look different in smaller cities than they do in larger areas. Route Fifty's special report, Community-Driven Solutions for Smaller Cities and Towns, looks at efforts in a few smaller cities that were designed to improve the lives of their citizens.

One of the featured cities--Minot, North Dakota--is still recovering from a record-setting flood in 2011, when the Souris River damaged or destroyed 4,100 homes and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. Since then, federal, state and local officials have worked on ways to make the city more flood resilient, "including buying out vulnerable low-lying properties, building stronger levees, and allowing the river more room to flood to reduce pressure on the Souris' main channel during high-water events."

Volunteers have tackled another issue, working to "strengthen the community in other ways so it can learn to live alongside a river that will periodically bring high water." Friends of the Souris promotes the river as an asset for the town, and they've been supported by Cities of Services, a non-profit that helps communities make use of volunteers, foster social resilience, and build a stronger and more engaged community. Last year, only 33 percent of citizens had a positive view of the river, but Friends of the Souris has held several volunteer events to encourage citizens to interact with the river, including creating a two-mile-long skating track. A community bike riding...

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