Thursday, January 16, 2020

Memories and a Message

Last week I shared some old photos of Forman on our Facebook page. After I post these  pieces of city history I’m always amazed at the number of comments and reactions. My favorite thing to see happening on these vintage pictures is watching Forman residents reconnecting. They maybe haven’t been in contact in years but a comment on an old photo suddenly has classmates or neighbors reminiscing together. A photo has an amazing ability to bring back memories of another time, like it was just yesterday.

 Seeing the comments and connections posted I was reminded of our city motto. We are a Forever Hometown. Whether you are coming, going, or here right now we want Forman to be that place that brings back a smile on your face as you recall your first job, that neighbor who was like a grandma to you, or playing baseball out by the fairgrounds.

Another great thing about sharing old photos is that people who have longer memories can recall dates and locations to help us identify businesses or houses that are no longer standing. We’re always on the look out for more photos of Forman, so if you have any to share with us we would be grateful.

While looking at pictures from the earlier days of the town is a delightful walk down memory lane, it can become easy to compare those days to now days. Sometimes those comparisons can lead to discouragement. “Wouldn’t it be great to have a theater again?”, “ I remember when Main Street was full of businesses and now look at it.” “I never thought we wouldn’t have an open grocery store.” While it’s important to be realistic about where we are currently and be serious in addressing challenges, we should never forget the positives as well.

Main Street might be quieter but there are a half dozen businesses on the highway that were never there years ago, not to mention a new housing development to the south. While retail services are not as plentiful we’re seeing growth in service industries and manufacturing in our area. Growing up in Forman in the eighties and nineties I remember walking past an empty lot on Maple Ave for years. Today that lot is home to a large industrial building that is part of a growing business.

Multiple sources show our median age as being younger than many other parts of the state. Young people are moving back or settling in town for the first time to enjoy the safety and relaxed pace that small town life has to offer. We have a museum and a wellness center that would be the envy of many communities, as well as new assisted living facility and a recently expanded nursing home.

As we work to come up with viable options for Main Street spaces and attracting businesses and growth in town we remember where we came from, but we also have faith in a bright future for our Forever Hometown. We hope you'll join us with your ideas and energy to make Forman a better place in 2020. 

Paige Cary 
Forman Economic Development Coordinator 

Thursday, January 2, 2020

New Year

New Year!

It's the start of a new year, which means new ideas, new challenges, and new energy.   In January the city is launching Pick 1, a campaign designed to raise awareness of volunteer needs in our community. Every resident in our town, and those living in the surrounding area, plays a part in helping our community to thrive.We are hoping this campaign brings awareness of the many organizations that help our city run, and prompts folks to get involved. 

A committee has been hard at work for several months, partnering with Lake Agassiz Regional Council, to create a strategic plan for Forman. Once approved by the council this will be made public. This has been a work in progress since last summer. We sought the input of the community when we had a public meeting in June. We received a lot of great ideas and input at that session, which helped to start the committee's discussions. Housing, businesses, and community development are some of the main categories in the strategic plan.

One of our town's greatest challenges right now is the lack of a grocery store. The Forman Community Development Corporation has been working on this issue for months. Different options have been explored and every effort will be made by FCDC and the city in 2020 to get this business back in town. As difficult as it is we know that we are not alone in this problem. In the past five years over 30 grocery stores in North Dakota have closed. Several of these were in towns larger than Forman. We are hoping to be in the positive statistics in 2020 for having a rural grocery store that reopened. 

In 2019 we gave out welcome bags to five new residents (not including rentals or those who were already living in Forman and moved to a different home) and welcomed two new businesses. We had a successful Car Fest in June that included some new events. We're already thinking about this year's Car Fest and are taking ideas and suggestions from community members now.

In 2019 the city received three grants, assisting us with planting new trees, our city mural, and the beginnings of a green space on Main Street. The apple trees from last year's orchard grant are thriving at Central Park, and the new playground equipment is being used. We're grateful to find resources to help us make our city more functional and beautiful.

Thanks to everyone for your part in making Forman a Forever Hometown. We look forward to working together in 2020!


It's been over one month since COVID-19 precautions began to impact our community. Some of the social distancing practices have maybe be...