Committee recommends funding community facilities

All applicants, including Minot Park District and four organizations, would receive a share of the city’s facilities funding under a recommendation of the Community Development Committee.

The committee approved spending $2.9 million from the Community Facilities Fund at a meeting Tuesday. The recommendation goes to the Minot City Council Monday.

Proposed to receive their full funding requests are Bishop Ryan Catholic School, $275,000 for upgrading and improving gymnasiums; Minot Curling Club, $275,000 to replace a rink floor and cooling pipes; Minot Commission on Aging, $400,000 for building improvements at the Parker Senior Center; and Minot Family YMCA, $193,585 to build a community outdoor fitness park in southwest Minot.

Minot Park District would receive its full request of $500,000 for improvements and expansion of the Hammond Park Tennis Facility and $1 million to get started on a third rink at Maysa Arena. The park board had requested $3 million for the rink.

The committee didn’t grant a specific amount toward the park district’s request for $800,000 to provide three fields for girls’ fastpitch softball. The committee directed that any money remaining in the Community Facilities Fund, up to $800,000, be provided for the softball fields. It is estimated that $256,415 could be available after funding other requests and fulfilling the second $1 million of a four-year, $4 million promise to Minot State University for Herb Parker Stadium improvements.

However, should sales tax collections into the fund fail to meet projections, the committee would meet again to determine where cuts to the appropriations would occur. Money for any of the projects would not be available until early 2014.

Before granting funds to the non-government entities, the committee asked for information related to how those projects would meet the definition of a city enterprise. The state constitution doesn’t allow cities to donate to private entities but they can contract with those organizations to provide a public service or “enterprise.”

Bishop Ryan indicated that its public purpose is to promote and enhance the physical well-being, cultural opportunities, economic vitality and tourism through providing facilities to host events.

The curling club proposes to expand its operation to allow public recreation on a regular basis. It currently hosts events for different groups in Minot.

The city established the YMCA during a previous building project as an enterprise to improve the physical fitness and health of residents. The YMCA presented the committee with a similar document that could be used for the new grant money.

The Commission on Aging has had previous ties to the city, both in receiving past funding and in its operation through a mayor-appointed board.

The committee voted 3-2 to acknowledge the organizations’ projects as enterprises. The committee agreed unanimously on future motions to establish the funding for each organization, although council member Amy Moen, an employee of the YMCA, abstained on the fitness park project. The organizations would need to provide the city with periodic reports on the enterprise activities and use of city funds.

The city legally can grant funds to the park district through a joint powers agreement on each of the projects.