Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Oil Boom

Last week MPR had an interesting program about the oil boom in North Dakota. The program featured the Mayor of Williston who talked about the town's number one problem was housing. To his credit, he was "up front" about telling people who inquired about coming to the area, "do not come unless you have a place to live!" He talked about the efforts they are taking to build new homes and apartment complexes.  They cannot build fast enough. For every unit they build, they have three or four families waiting to move in.

The whole time that I listened to the program, I could not help by think about the many towns I have traveled though in Minnesota, Iowa, North and South Dakota that have vacant homes. Yes, these homes are very old. Many of them 60 years or more. However, things change a lot faster today. Will technology change so fast that in 20 years, the housing units in Williston all be vacant? (Or, perhaps are they being so shoddily built that they will be so run down as to be useless?) I hope that the city officials will be far sighted enough to think about this possibility and demand that developers escrow some funds to help demolish or convert these buildings should the oil boom become a bust! end

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