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The Minot City Council has approved criteria to help select a final site for the Downtown Gathering Space project.
The Downtown Gathering Technical Review Committee hosted a public input meeting on Dec. 5, with another public meeting scheduled for Dec. 18 at 6:30 p.m. in Room 301 at the Minot Municipal Auditorium. Those attending the meetings are given the opportunity to vote for the site they like and there will also be an opportunity on the City website to vote for a site between Dec. 6 and Dec. 19. These votes will constitute the 30% public input in the criteria (i.e. if one site receives 60% of the public votes then it will earn 18% of the 30% allocated for public input).
The survey can be found here: http://www.minotnd.org/631/Downtown-Gathering-Place-Survey
The criteria that will be used for making the site selection include public input (30%), costs (20%), connectivity/accessibility (10%), environmental consideration (10%), historical consideration (10%), economic impact (10%), and visibility (10%). The Technical Review Committee will meet Dec. 20 with each member rating the sites based on the criteria, except for public input, which will already have been determined by public voting. The site with the highest average weight among all the Technical Review Committee members and including the public input weighting will be the recommended site to the City Council.
The three sites that are being studied:
The Trinity lot located adjacent to Broadway, between Second Avenue SW and Third Avenue SW.
Property in the block north of First Avenue SE and south of Central Avenue, with First Street SE on the west and railroad tracks on the east side.
Property north of the Canadian Pacific railroad tracks on the east side of Third Street SE, located just south of the Renaissance Center.
“There are a lot of moving parts with this project going forward,” said John Zakian, Disaster Resilience Program manager for the City of Minot. “A realistic goal I think would be to spend most of 2018 going through the site selection, assessments, appraisals and acquisitions, and then begin actual construction at the site in the spring of 2019. But there are a lot of things that could affect that timeline.”
Following a site determination by the City Council anticipated in early 2018, several steps will need to be completed before the Downtown Gathering Space becomes reality.
First, the City will hold discussions with the Minot Park District to determine if the Park District is willing to operate and manage the Gathering Space when it is completed, and a contract will need to be drawn up and signed by all parties.
An environmental assessment and an historical assessment of the chosen site must be done. Appraisals will have to be conducted on the chosen site, and the City will have to make a financial offer to the site’s owner, and the offer will need to be accepted.
Once the design process begins, public meetings will be held to gather more input on what amenities the public would like the Gathering Space to include.
Finally, the City Council must approve any acquisition, design, and other elements of the project.
Minot was awarded $74.3 million in January 2016 from the National Disaster Resilience Competition. One of the projects identified in the city’s application was a downtown public gathering space, with a budget of $6 million. The funding expires on Sept. 30, 2022.
The goal is to improve the resiliency and help revitalize downtown Minot. In accordance with the application Minot submitted and eventually agreed to with Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as part of the NDR competition, the downtown gathering space must meet a variety of criteria. The site must be at least two acres in size, and must be a central gathering space for recreation, entertainment, festivals and other public events. The site must be within the downtown business district and must have centrality, accessibility and visibility.
The City held multiple public meetings before creating and submitting its application, and many of the amenities included in the first conceptual renderings came from direct public input. During those public discussions, many amenities were identified as being important in a potential gathering space, including walking paths, a band shell, a playground, a stage/performance area, a permanent covered shelter, a fountain, greenspace, heritage and cultural attributes and space for booths for events such as farmer’s markets.