Groups seek sales tax money for facilities

Community groups and the Minot Park District are requesting more than $5.4 million in sales tax proceeds through the City of Minot’s Community Facilities Fund.

The Minot City Council’s Community Development Committee meets Tuesday at noon in City Hall to review the requests. Groups seeking money in addition to the park district are Bishop Ryan Catholic School, Minot Commission on Aging, Minot Curling Club and Minot Family YMCA.

The city finance office reports the facilities fund holds $928,464 in unobligated money and anticipates earnings of just over $2 million in 2013.

Voters agreed in June 2011 to re-direct a sales tax for the Northwest Area Water Supply project to infrastructure, tax relief and community facilities. The Community Facilities Fund has provided $250,000 to the Minot Park District for flood repairs at baseball diamonds and made available another $1.7 million for additional flood repairs.

The park district’s latest request includes $3 million for construction of a third sheet of ice at Maysa Arena.

The Minot Area Youth Skating Association anticipates having the new ice rink built by the fall of 2015. The association plans to raise $2 million in donations and asked the park district to renew its current $1.5 million in revenue bond funds.

The association reports that during the summer, Maysa operates one rink, and it is the only ice in western North Dakota during this time. In the winter, both sheets of ice are essentially full with figure skating, hockey or public use.

The park district’s other requests from the facilities fund are $800,000 to build three fields for youth girls fast-pitch softball and $500,000 for improvements and expansion of the Hammond Park tennis facility.

The Hammond Tennis Complex is the main outdoor tennis facility operated by the park district. The asphalt needs replacing so the park district believes it is time to redesign the facility and add two more courts for a total of 10, enabling the facility to host large tournaments.

The basketball courts in the complex will be moved to a nearby vacant lot. A playground, picnic shelter and additional parking will be added. The park district is moving ahead with final design and the possibility of starting a project yet this year. The preliminary cost estimate, depending on options, ranges up to $1.7 million.

Total cost of the softball complex is $1.6 million, to be obtained through fundraising as well as a potential facilities grant. The park district will provide utilities and pave the roadway. The location would be on the west side of the Jack Hoeven Baseball Complex off the U.S. Highway 83 Bypass.

The YMCA is seeking $193,585 for its community outdoor fitness park. The park will offer a fitness path and 12 fitness systems to enable visitors to work out.

The curling club is asking for $275,000 to help defray the $290,200 cost of replacing a floor and pipes in the State Fair building used by the club. The club would contribute its own funds and volunteers.

Bishop Ryan is asking for $275,000 to upgrade the school gymnasiums. The school reports the current bleachers are dilapidated to the point of being unsafe and are not handicapped accessible. The primary gym also needs new lighting and an acoustic system, along with floor resurfacing and painting of the walls and ceiling. The activity center also needs a new floor.

Total cost is $325,000. The school plans to raise donations for expenses not covered by a potential grant.

The school opens its facilities at no charge to groups that offer public recreational opportunities and to community events bring thousands of participants and fans to the city.

The Commission on Aging seeks $400,000 to renovate the Parker Senior Center. The base cost of the improvements is estimated at $617,500.

The commission reports that the improvements are sought to create a more useful space for seniors and to host events in downtown Minot.

The latest grant round is the second that the city has conducted through its community development process. Previous grant recipients in addition to the park district were Dakota Air Museum, $500,000 for a building expansion; Minot Recreation Commission, $287,440 for an outdoor ice skating rink; and Minot State University, $4 million for Herb Parker Stadium.

The city council approved MSU’s grant last year as $1 million over four years. The $2.95 million in the facility fund reflects money available after $2 million is set aside for MSU.