Additional home buyouts proposed

More home acquisitions will be initiated in the valley in coming weeks with the North Dakota State Water Commission’s recent approval of requests from the City of Minot and Ward County.

On Monday, the commission approved the city’s request for $24.4 million to buy 113 homes, which then will be demolished to make room for a flood protection project. Voluntary acquisition offers will be made to homeowners.

Ward County did not request any additional funds but was given permission to use leftover, previously approved funds of $278,000 to acquire 21 parcels. Travis Schmit, assistant county engineer, said this is the fourth and final phase of voluntary acquisitions. Offer letters from the law firm of Swanson & Warcup should be going to property owners in the next week or so, he said.

The properties sought are in the Brooks, Country Club, Robinwood and Tierracita Vallejo additions.

In previous acquisition rounds, the county bought 45 houses and two lots.

The city so far has purchased 82 homes. The city will not be making additional purchase offers until the federal government resumes operations and can approve a proposed action plan for the city’s Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery grant, city finance director Cindy Hemphill said. The action plan includes money for the 25 percent local match required to obtain the funds from the State Water Commission.

The water comission also approved $1.9 million for engineering work on flood walls along Fourth Avenue Northeast and on levees at Napa Valley and Forest Road in Minot. Total engineering cost is $3.2 million, of which city sales tax would pay $1.3 million.