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!