At Independence, Inc. we work very hard to increase the all types of community participation and civic engagement by people with disabilities. In order to do that, we have reached out to each of the candidates for Mayor and City Council in Minot and asked them a very simple question.
Today, we get a response from mayoral candidate Shaun Sipma. According to his KMOT election bio Sipma is no stranger to being a voice for the Minot community. Sipma worked as an award-winning television news journalist in Minot before moving to the insurance industry. Sipma has also involved himself with the group ‘Farm Rescue’ that helps farmers recovering from disaster or illness tend to their fields and flocks. Elected to the City Council last year, Sipma was involved with the #MakeMinot movement that successfully shrunk Minot’s local government to its current ‘modern council’ format.
1) If you are elected, how will you work to make Minot a more accessible community for people with all types disabilities?
Over the last couple of years city leadership has implemented many programs and improvements to further help people with disabilities or those who are homebound keep in touch with city activities. For the 2018 budget we a council had allocated funds for camera and audio equipment to be able to podcast and stream city meetings giving everyone instant access live to important meetings that happen on a regular basis. We had also approved a modification to the council leadership desk allowing anyone with a disability to have access in the form of a ramp in council chambers if he or she would ever want to run for an elected position or if a city employee who was disabled would need to perform his or her duty in that area.
Looking ahead to future advancements moving the bus transfer station near the future Community Gathering Space downtown will give everyone direct access to the Main Street area including dining, shopping and socializing.
In the future utilizing the National Disaster Resilience Program moving City Hall downtown would also be significantly helpful in centralizing assistant programs and numerous non-profits under one roof. That idea is being researched with a four year window left with the NDR Program dollars. Having the assistant programs and groups along with numerous non-profits under one roof would greatly increase the efficiency in getting help quickly to those who need it rather than criss crossing town between all the different entities.
Following the International Economic Development Council's report due later this June the focus will be bringing all of the community assets to the table including organizations such as Independence, Inc. to put plans into action for economic reinvestment into our community and revitalization. I fully expect all demographics to be represented and play an important part in growing our city from with for the benefit of everyone.
One specific idea I have for growth is halting the outward expansion of our city limits and focus on infill and reinvestment. Aside from the costs that far outweigh the benefit of outward growth being able to keep further develop and redevelop as mixed-use in the heart of our city makes it easier for people with disabilities to live, work and socialize in an area. It would provide for all of their needs rather than having to travel everywhere for those qualities of life.
In the next four years we will also work hard through the NDR program to help rehabilitate aging Low- to-Moderate Income Housing within that corridor to help improve the lives of people living in those facilities and making them more accessible for people with disabilities.