The city of Belfield received special recognition from Gov. Doug Burgum on Friday during the North Dakota League of Cities Annual Conference being held Sept. 13-15, in Grand Forks.
Gov. Burgum announced Belfield as the 2018 Main Street Revitalizer Award winner for their downtown revitalization efforts.
"Belfield has worked diligently to differentiate and enhance the quality of life for their residents, present and future," Burgum said. "It's with great pleasure and gratitude that we recognize them with this award for efforts to enhance their vibrant community."
The 2018 Main Street Revitalizer Award honors communities that take empty or dilapidated lots or structures and revitalize them with updated infrastructure, mixed-use retail, residential, parks or other unique assets. Communities who demonstrate use of existing infrastructure, infusing it with new and innovative ideas, to ensure the most efficient use of public resources are recognized for their efforts.
Belfield's transformation was spearheaded by Natalie Muruato, city auditor, who oversaw the protection, restoration and celebration of historic structures.
"I remember when the governor first got elected, and he talked about his main street initiative. I overheard someone say 'That's not going to work for small towns; that's probably only for Fargo,'" she said. "That's when I signed up to become one of the partners on the initiative list because I knew we really had a shot at this, and that's what I was out to prove."
Belfield's strategies included complete renovations of their historic properties through creative reuse and beautification efforts, including restoration of their historic theater, police station and downtown area.
"We have a ways to go because we just started getting the ball rolling, and this is a great example of a community working together to protect unique spaces and invest in their downtown." Muruato said. "The people of Belfield are our greatest asset, they donated so much money and time to see this project go from a vision to a reality."
The Main Street Awards are a collaborative effort of the Office of the Governor, the North Dakota Department of Commerce and the North Dakota League of Cities. A selection committee made up of the collaborating agencies and partners judged the entries to make final awards.
"This award is going to help our image, because we know that we're not just some greasy oil town," Murato said. "Now the rest of the state will know that too."