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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has approved the City of Minot’s substantial amendment request, allowing the City to use up to $2.5 million to acquire and demolish property plus complete site restoration for a downtown gathering space. This is the first substantial amendment approved for the 13 grantees in the National Disaster Resilience Competition.
The City can now start the required environmental review and begin several other activities, including establishing property values in order to make offers to owners of property on the site, and begin talks with the Minot Park District to establish its role in the design and construction of the project through a sub-recipient agreement. The current preferred site for the gathering space is located east of First Street Southeast, between Central Avenue and First Avenue Southeast.
“HUD’s approval allows us to advance this project, starting by immediately launching the required environmental review, which kicked off today with a scoping session,” said John Zakian, manager of Minot’s National Disaster Resilience Program. “HUD requires us to separate the budget for the gathering space between acquisition and construction, and we’ve accomplished that with the approval of this substantial amendment.”
Under HUD rules, no funds can be committed or decisions made limiting options until the environmental review is completed. The city has launched a collaborative effort which could result in positive recognition from two federal agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency and HUD, for leveraging federal grants. The city will partially fund the environmental assessment through funds in an EPA Brownfield environmental assessment grant it received two years ago and the HUD NDR grant.
As part of $74.3 million awarded to Minot in 2016 through the NDR program, $6 million was set aside to fund a downtown gathering place. Because acquiring property wasn’t specifically identified in Minot’s original approved NDR application and Action Plan, HUD required the City to amend its request to specifically identify acquisition for the Gathering Place as a new activity pursuant to HUD rules and identify the portion of the $6 million which will be used for acquisition. The city identified $2.5 million for property acquisition, demolition, and site restoration.