This is part one of the coverage of the community planning meeting held by the Cavalier County Job Development Authority on May 9.
Posted on 5/21/16
By Melissa Anderson
The Cavalier County Job Development Authority (CCJDA) held a community input meeting to gather information on what the public viewed as needs for the area as well as gain new ideas for what the community would like to see come to the area. This exact type of meeting is held every five years, although the strategic plan is updated once a year using input from businesses owners, the hospital, schools, county commissioners and city commissioners.
“We have public input meetings on specific projects on an as-needed basis,” CCJDA Director Shannon Duerr explained.
Community input from these meetings is used to explore options and share feedback with state entities. This most recent meeting provided the foundation for further discussion with the school, hospital and daycare. CCJDA is also starting to look at a project that could make lots available for housing development.
These meetings are important in helping CCJDA and Duerr get all the community ideas for the future written down in one place. It helps give an idea of what types of projects people like to see and also helps prevent duplicate projects. They also help bring people together; one group may mention a need and another group may have a way to fill that need. For this most recent community forum, 14 people attended the session.
“You always want to have as many people as possible attend these kinds of meetings so you make sure you have the best input possible,” Duerr stated, “I was expecting right around fifteen so I was happy with the turnout.”
The individuals who attended were also a good mix that represented several Cavalier County entities including: utilities, city and county commission, North Central Planning, extension, and chamber, which provided an array of different perspectives.
Overall, Duerr was happy with the discussion and outcomes of the meeting.
“We wanted it to be a meeting to get community input instead of community members listening to us speak,” Duerr said, “We each followed a format of having a quick presentation followed by a long period of community input. “
North Central Planning followed the format of a SWOT (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis. CCJDA went through each of the seven benchmarks and asked attendees what they would like to see happen in the community.
There were several new suggestions at this year’s planning session with the following suggestions being some of the standout suggestions in each category and benchmark.
One item that was mentioned at both the Monday planning meeting and the following Wednesday at the CCJDA board meeting was the need for tree planting and shelter belts.
“There is concern over what would happen to the topsoil in the county if our area was to experience another 1930s type dust bowl,” Duerr said.
“Seeing that this was mentioned twice and is something a lot of people are concerned about, this is one of the higher priority items on the list,” Duerr explained.
However, the CCJDA understands that individuals can do what they please with their private land, but should a landowner be interseted in tree planting and shelter belts, the CCJDA will be happy to assist them in finding information and resources.
The development of precision ag will be another agriculture topic that will be very important over the coming years. As Cavalier County is predominantly ag based, many at the session want area producers to have access to the newest technology.
“If you ever want to see a really neat example of how possible future technology can be used on farms, I encourage you to go to youtube and look up John Deere Farm Forward,” Duerr advised.
“Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) will also be another part of precision ag,” Duerr added.
Specific projects that could help address this would be bringing in training on how to use technology or attracting business who offer services using this technology, or helping current local businesses expand to offer these services.
An additional topic for the agriculture benchmark was value added and niche agriculture, which will also be important moving forward as these types of projects can help provide diversification in agriculture.
“One new and fun project that was mentioned was the possibility of a local winery or microbrewery using locally grown crops,” Duerr said.
Many in the Langdon area have felt the loss of family-friendly, sit-down restaurants that are open in the evenings. This need has been mentioned several times, especially since the closing of Stables.
Another issue that is centered around helping and addressing the needs of families is the importance of having adequate daycare options. Langdon is fortunate to have a quality, community daycare available to families, however, they have a waiting list as do all of the home daycare providers. There are also going to be a lot of new babies in town over the coming months so the need to find quality and affordable daycare for families is urgent.
“Housing and daycare are always critical issues. Both are very important to a community’s attractiveness and long-term viability,” Duerr said.
One very interesting change that happened with the education benchmark was the focus. Unlike in years prior, a majority of the topics that were mentioned were geared more towards adult education than school age.
“I think this indicates a few things,” Duerr explained.
First, Duerr believes that people are very pleased with the county schools. During the SWOT analysis portion of the meeting, the quality of the local schools was mentioned as a strength. Duerr concludes that the need for adult education is also in response to the hiring difficulties many Cavalier County employer’s face.
“If we can offer training locally at little or no cost, we may be able to help fill some of the needs of employers,” Duerr said.
Some of the specific trainings mentioned:
• CDL training (several Cavalier County employers have a need for employees with CDLs).
• Beginner truck driving class (more extensive than CDL, for those individuals who have never driven any kind of truck, a class where they could get good instruction and practice with a real truck).
• Ag training (visits with local businesses and farmers would be required to see what types of ag skills they would like future and/or current employees to be trained in).
There was also some discussion on how to prepare first time job seekers. This particular topic had been mentioned in years prior but is becoming more in need of being addressed. The suggestions for some basic employee training included topics such as what to wear to an interview, what is expected when you are an employee, taking directions, etc.
If anyone has any ideas that they would like to see included in the five year plan, Duerr encourages them to give her a call at 701-256-3475 or stop into her office located in the Cavalier County Courthouse.
“I love to hear new ideas for the future of our county,” Duerr said.