City gives final OK to facilities grants

More than $4.4 million in community facilities grants will be going to eight projects in Minot.

The Minot City Council had agreed to the donations last July and held public hearings Monday on ordinances drafted to facilitate the grants. Money from a sales tax fund will be disbursed to the projects in 2014. Voters in June 2011 voted to redirect the 1 percent city sales tax that had gone to the Northwest Area Water Supply project to infrastructure, community facilities and property-tax relief.

The council approved ordinances to spend sales tax proceeds as follows:

– Bishop Ryan High School, $275,000 to improve the gymnasium.

– Minot Commission on Aging, $400,000 for improvements at the Parker Senior Center.

– Minot Family YMCA, $193,585 to build a community outdoor fitness park.

– North Dakota State Fair Association and Minot Curling Club, $275,000 to replace the ice rink floor and cooling pipes in a facility on the fairgrounds.

– Minot Park District, $800,000 to construct three girls fast-pitch softball fields, $500,000 to improve and expand the Hammond Park tennis facility and $1 million to construct a third sheet of ice at Maysa Arena. The council also committed to $1 million for Maysa in each 2015 and 2016 if funds are available.

– Minot State University, $1 million to improve Herb Parker Stadium. The money is the second installment in a four-year agreement for $4 million for the stadium.

The council approved the inter-governmental grants without dissent. Council member Scott Knudsvig spoke against the grants to the nonprofit organizations, saying they don’t meet the definition of community facilities. He and council member Lisa Olson voted against the grants to the nonprofits.

The council returned a subdivision request for a Holiday gas station to the Minot Planning Commission. The station and convenience store are proposed for the south side of the intersection of the U.S. Highway 83 Bypass and U.S. Highway 2 & 52, where a small neighborhood of homes now exists. The proposal drew neighborhood protest at the October planning commission meeting, at which commissioners recommended the council deny the request because the location could be impacted by a future interchange or southwest bypass.

The council returned the item at the request of the company, which is working to resolve neighborhood concerns.

The council reviewed a timeline for filling the position of city manager when David Waind retires at the end of March. Advertising for the position will begin immediately, with narrowing of the candidate pool in early January and formal interviews with top candidates in early February. The council would like to have a new city manager named by early March so a transition can occur before Waind leaves.