Over two months ago we first covered an issue known to those in Bismarck as the “Pop-Up Path“. For those who may be reading about it for the first time, this temporary path was the result of a proposal to build a “Bismarck Central Pathway” from the downtown area to the Riverfront. It was available to the public from September 23rd to October 14th. And according to City Planner Will Hutchings, its purpose was to gauge interest in making the pathway permanent.
In that initial article, we explained concerns related to the high density of sex offenders that the proposed path runs through. Just six days later we followed that up with an article exposing the Bismarck Tribune’s unintentional flub by publishing a front page picture of a man riding the path a man we proved to be a registered sex offender . And no, I’m not joking.
Then last month we published an article that shed light on the concern some residents have related to building such a path next to the regular flow of vehicular traffic. In that same article, we also exposed other things Bismarck residents should be considering in relation to this issue:
1. A video featured city employees advocating for the path and a representative from AARP– who donated the funds for the temporary path. A video that some believe has a propaganda feel to it.
2. A list of partners in the project shows the biking industry. Which lends to the idea that this is more of a special interest advocacy than a true community project.
3. City Commissioner Josh Askvig also works as the State Director for AARP . And on top of that he also likes to bike.
4. City Planner Will Hutchings had a Freudian slip of sorts in the previously mentioned video when he spoke of the path as though it’s going to be built– before catching himself and correcting mid-sentence.
All of these things together led me to conclude in these words:
“I’m guessing that when all is said and done that what was sold to the public as a ‘demonstration’ will be what it was intended to be all along… permanent. And it won’t be because it was such a popular idea with the taxpayers. It’ll be in spite of them.”
On November 16th a notice was posted to the Pop-Up Path Facebook page that seems to provide additional support to this conclusion. Readers of the page were informed of a November 30th “Wrap Up Event”. Then on November 21st the event was officially created on the page as you can see here:
And these are the details of the event:
If you’ll notice, the event is being held at D&N Cinematics. Their website describes them as follows:
“D&N Cinematics is a full service creative company. Our philosophy is to provide stunning imagery, innovative marketing, and personalized customer service. D&N Cinematics has the know-how to tackle any project large or small. Our years of experience enable us to convey a message effectively and artistically. And most of all, we love what we do, so we want to make sure you love it too.” (Emphasis Added)
It’s not difficult to see why some see this as a propaganda campaign instead of a temporary project to gauge the public’s interest.
As of this writing, just 14 people have marked that they are “going” and another 17 are “interested”. Not exactly a rousing endorsement of an event that really seems to be nothing more than another part of a propaganda campaign for a project that seems to have been a done deal all along. Which is a sad thing considering there’s no plan on how a city that is $222 million in debt will fund such a thing.
Unless residents of Bismarck voice their opposition now, it seems inevitable that a path the city doesn’t need will be built with taxpayer funds the city shouldn’t be spending.
1. https://www.theminutemanblog.com/single-post/2017/09/20/Bismarcks-Proposed-Path-Goes-Through-Dense-Area-of-Sex-Offenders 2. https://www.theminutemanblog.com/single-post/2017/09/26/Bismarck-Tribune-Unknowingly-Features-Sex-Offender-on-New-Pop-Up-Path 3. http://bismarcktribune.com/opinion/letters/pop-up-path-raises-concerns-on-safety/article_4232daaa-302a-5d38-9991-758639144c2e.html 4 . https://www.facebook.com/pg/popupbismarck/videos/?ref=page_internal
6. http://bismarcktribune.com/news/local/bismarck/askvig-steps-into-new-role-as-director-of-aarp-north/article_468f239c-f067-536e-a155-18d0f82715de.html 7. http://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/how-much-debt-do-north-dakota-s-biggest-cities-have/article_2bf1949f-7611-530f-a2df-6d975ed9ef1f.html